How can I Help? What to do for a breast cancer patient
Share in the journey and show that you care
Fort Wayne, Indiana (June 2, 2008) — When you hear the words “I have breast cancer” from a loved one, you feel like there’s nothing in the world you can say or do to express your concern or show how much you care. But feeling frozen by the fear of doing the wrong thing can result in your doing nothing. The important thing to remember is that she needs you now more than ever. These are the best ways to support her and show her she’s not alone.
Indiana Women in Need Foundation This Indiana-based organization, like many around the country, provides basic services for women undergoing treatment, relieving some of the stress of running a household. Clients receive assistance with domestic services such as lawn mowing, laundry and grocery shopping. That way, patients can stay focused on getting better, not on dirty clothes in the hamper. Find out more at I.W.I.N. Foundation.
Help with everyday chores. “Life as usual” continues for the rest of the household. Laundry, yard work, house cleaning, grocery shopping and meal preparation can now all seem like insurmountable tasks to someone dealing with the fatigue and pain of cancer and treatment. Take some of the workload yourself and help coordinate other friends and family to pitch in, too.
Take her to appointments. Spouses or family members will not always be available to accompany her to doctor appointments. You don’t need to be an expert on breast cancer to escort her to an appointment. She’ll be overwhelmed with the number of different appointments and all of the information about treatments and side effects. Bring a notebook with you and record the doctor’s comments and recommendations. Putting the details on paper can be a huge help for future reference.
Get the kids out of the house. If the patient is a parent, she may be feeling guilty that she doesn’t have the energy to spend quality time with her kids. If children are in the picture, plan to take them on outings away from the house or offer to drive them to scheduled activities. Engaging them in activities will help relieve some of that guilt and she’ll appreciate knowing that her children are having fun.
Make a donation in her honor. Get started with something simple like a heartfelt note and a donation in her honor to her favorite charity or a breast cancer research organization.
Be yourself and allow her to be herself. Most women undergoing treatment for cancer want to be reminded of what life was like before their diagnosis. They long for normalcy. If she liked comedy clubs or movies, she still does! Take her to one when she’s feeling up to it. If she liked crossword puzzles or reading romance novels but is not feeling up to doing it by herself, sit with her and do the puzzle or read the book together.
Create a private web community and offer to be the coordinator. It is often difficult for patients and family caregivers to ask for help. Coordinating family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and church members who don’t know each other can be complex and time-consuming. Keeping friends and family up-to-date on medical progress and the family calendar is another source of anxiety and stress for the patient. A private web community is free and simple to create (try lotsahelpinghands.com or find a web host in your local community). You’ll be able to easily coordinate volunteers for meals, rides for the kids, visits, appointments, medical status updates and good wishes. For friends and family who have said those nebulous words, “if there’s anything I can do to help…” simply direct them to the breast cancer patient’s own website. This is a wonderful way to offer a tremendous amount of support without overwhelming your loved one.
How to Make a Donation
When you make a contribution, not only are you giving to a worthy cause, you’re also declaring yourself a partner in raising breast cancer awareness! There are a number of organizations across the country that help raise resources for breast cancer research. Here are two great ways you can get involved with our Foundation and show your support.
Donate on verabradley.org.
You can honor a friend or family member by contributing to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, online at verabradley.org. Your donation will go towards Turn the Town Pink, which directly benefits the Foundation and supports breast cancer research. When you make a donation, we’ll also send a note to the honoree letting them know that a donation has been made in their honor. It only takes a couple of minutes to make a donation, but you can rest assured the effect will be long-lasting.
Donate at the Vera Bradley Retail Stores.
You can also make a donation by visiting your local Vera Bradley retailer. Most stores have Foundation donor cards available. Pick one up the next time you’re shopping, fill it out and send it along with your donation to the Foundation. We’ll be sure to add you to our mailing list as well and stay in touch! You can find a complete listing of Vera Bradley retailers and sign up to join Club Vera at verabradley.com.