According to a 2014 special report on childhood cancer by Cancer.org , 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. Chances are, you know someone who is dealing with the reality of a child with cancer and you want to help but just don’t know what to do.
When you hear the news that a friend or loved one is dealing with childhood cancer, we instinctively say something like “please let me know if you need anything” While this gesture is great, the reality is that the parent of a sick child is probably so overwhelmed with taking care of medical needs and they wont know where to begin or what to ask of friends and family. A non-intrusive, more proactive approach is to take it upon yourself to take on everyday tasks that might be neglected. These tips are also great for the new parent, someone getting over surgery or illness or anyone who might need the help.
Here are a few ideas
- Get together with friends/family/co-workers and set up a meal train. Here’s a meal train planning website to help you get started. This is a great way to help out someone you don’t know very well but want to show your support.
- Order meals to be delivered. If you don’t want to cook, you can use a delivery service like grubhub.com to have meals delivered by local restaurants (they even deliver to hospitals.) This website makes it easy for non-local friends and family to help out long distance.
- If you are close, offer to pick up, wash, dry, fold and drop off their laundry.
- Create a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit using these DIY Cleaning Recipes so they can clean their home without worrying about the effects of toxic chemicals on an already compromised immune system.
- Offer to babysit the siblings of the sick child or take them out to a movie, dinner, etc. Often siblings of sick children feel left out and this would be a great opportunity to make them feel special.
- Consider giving a gift card for groceries, the pharmacy, or big box stores. The financial burden of medical bills can be crippling and these gifts will be well appreciated.
- Hire a cleaning company or give a gift certificate for a cleaning to relieve some of the stress from this everyday chore.
- Write notes and cards of encouragement. The parent of a child might not be able to chat on the phone but they will appreciate this sentiment.
- Don’t just help now, help later too. When a child is first diagnosed, the offers of help will be pouring in. After awhile, as the offers subside, it would be greatly appreciated to take on any of these ideas to show you are still there and still care.
After losing her sister Virginia to cancer, Teresa Ward, owner of Teresa’s Family Cleaning, formed the charity, Cleaning Angels USA. This volunteer organization provides free cleaning services to Long Island women who are overwhelmed with the pain and stress of cancer treatment. For more information, call 631-759-7595 or email email@example.com