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How to Help a Friend Who’s Sick


copyright Rose Photography, LLC.

Recently a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with b-cell lymphoma.  Cancer.  The news came only one week after my friend gave birth to her second child.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  A brand new baby and cancer all within a matter of days.  After the initial shock, family and friends wondered how we could help; what could we possibly do to ease the stress of this diagnosis?  How could we help a young family with a brand new baby?

Cancer-free after several rounds of chemotherapy, I asked my friend what was the most helpful during her five months of cancer treatment, weekly doctor visits, hospital stays, new baby feedings and diaper changes.  Here’s what she said:

  • The Facebook group that my family started was a great way to share information with everyone.  I didn’t have to make a million phone calls when I wasn’t sure if I could explain things one more time without crying.
  • Friends and family bought bracelets to show their support – the money from the bracelets helped us pay for everyday, household expenses since I wasn’t able to work.
  • Friends and family used Take Them A Meal to sign up to bring us meals and restaurant gift certificates. We didn’t have to worry about cooking and even found some new favorite recipes!
  • People dropped off diapers and other baby essentials and watched the girls and our dog while I was at doctor appointments and in the hospital.
  • A group of anonymous folks set up a cleaning service that came to our house every week!
  • Everyone called or texted before stopping over.  I could tell them I wasn’t up for a visit or if there was something specific we needed.  Short visits were better for me as well.  I also appreciated that people talked to me like they would’ve before the cancer.  It’s still me, just no hair!
  • The outpouring of love and support through Facebook posts, cards and calls was a huge part of my recovery process – helping me stay positive, reassuring me that I was strong enough to beat this.
  • One of the most AMAZING gifts our family received during this time was breast milk for our baby girl.  Breastfeeding is very important to us and I was devastated that I wasn’t able to nurse our baby.  A good friend of mine had a baby a few months before me and offered to supply us with breast milk for as long as she could and we’re just now starting to supplement with formula!  So even though I would never have asked, this offer of support was a blessing that we are truly thankful for.

copyright Rose Photography, LLC.

So when you’re not sure how to help, offer to stop over with a funny movie or a meal, send a card or mow the lawn and don’t be afraid to offer something outside the box.  Be specific about how you can help – it’s overwhelming being sick and your friend may not have the energy to think of ways for you to help.  Lastly, be positive – your positive energy will go a long way in your friend’s recovery.


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