When a friend, family member or neighbor is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to know the best way to express your support. At Quiltlove, we are proud believers in showing up and letting your love shine through. We have compiled a cancer gift guide with ten of our favorite ways to support people recently diagnosed with cancer.
1. Patchwork Quilt from Family and Friends
Quiltlove quilts enable you to wrap a loved one in the support of family and friends, following a cancer diagnosis. They are ideal gifts for chemotherapy patients because the custom artwork and messages the front of the quilt will remind them of their family and friends, while the snuggly sherpa backing is sure to warm an austere hospital room. Round up the gang and hop to it! It is the most meaningful gift a group can give.
2. Meal Delivery
You can support a cancer patient and their entire family by bringing a home-cooked meal and/or coordinating food deliveries with TakeThemAMeal, Give InKind, Meal Train or a similar platform. The Cancer Support Community has a recipe guide that provides healthy meal ideas for people going through cancer. Not a cook? Feel free to borrow my favorite foolproof meal: a rotisserie chicken from the deli, bagged salad mix, fresh baguette, a few pieces of seasonal fruit and/or a bar of dark chocolate.
3. No-Fuss House Plant
One of my favorite cancer advocates, writers and a cancer survivor herself, Danielle Ripley-Burgess, puts a sturdy houseplant at the top of her cancer gift guide. She recommends a hard-to-kill pothos or a peace lily.
4. Blood Donation
When my friend’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, she asked that friends and family give blood in her honor as part of a “Sleeves Up!” social media campaign. The importance of the life-saving act of giving blood and/or registering to donate bone marrow cannot be overstated.
5. Assorted Entertainment
A collection of activities like books, magazines and puzzles, a personalized music playlist is a great way to add some levity to a challenging time. Check out the comments of this blog post for some great ideas for funny and uplifting reads. The House in the Cerulean Sea sounds especially good!
6. Cause-Based Involvement
Many in-person cancer fundraising events, such as walks, runs and bike rides have returned to being in-person after going virtual due to COVID-19. These events are a great excuse to raise money, get outside, rally together with people from your community who are going through similar situations, and show your support for a loved one going through cancer. Quiltlove has had particularly great experiences at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Hope Walks.
7. Snail Mail
Emily McDowell’s shop sells beautifully funny and frank empathy greeting cards that go beyond the usual Get Well Soon message. Her experience as a cancer survivor inspired to her launch her one of a kind business. Say no more.
8. Home Cleaning Services
Tick a chore off a cancer patient (and family)’s to do list with the gift of a clean home. Cleaning for a Reason is a nonprofit organizations that provides two FREE home cleaning services for people going through cancer. Complete an application on a loved one’s behalf, or sponsor a cleaning from another local provider.
The “right” degree of social interaction and connection will depend on a cancer patient’s treatment stage and personality, but we know for certain that everyone likes to be remembered, even if they can’t always reciprocate. If you feel uneasy about how to connect with someone facing cancer, ask them! And know that the answer might change as time goes by. A simple text message, call, or hug can do a world of good.
We hope this cancer gift guide inspires you to reach out and show your love and support to someone facing a difficult diagnosis. Did we forget anything? Let us know. We would love to hear from you!