Here’s how you can help out a friend or relative with a cancer diagnosis
Whether it’s the diagnosis of a close friend, relative or even a work colleague – it can be hard knowing how to react to such a drastic change to someone’s life.
Take the first step of supporting this person by engaging with them on a personal level and making sure that they don’t feel alone when they need your help the most. Don’t let your own inhibitions stop you from making a real difference to someone’s life, if you feel like someone needs a helping hand then you should.
Talk about it
The first step in supporting a friend with cancer is having a conversation with them. Before you start racking your brain for how you should bring up the subject of their illness, consider how they might feel. Sometimes it can be better to open up a relaxed dialogue and let the subject arise naturally, rather than barrelling head first into it.
When you choose to have this conversation is also important. Don’t pick a loud, hectic environment that might force you to raise your voice. Find a quiet secluded place where you can sit together and make sure to keep eye contact with them as much as possible. Just make sure you give them the time and space needed to talk to you in their own way.
Go for a walk
Although cancer treatments can often play havoc with the body, it’s still imperative that those going through treatment get some fresh air and exercise from time to time. If your previous attempts at broaching the topic of their disease have fallen flat, then a change in scenery might prove to be just the thing to help them open up.
Take your friend or relative out for walk somewhere pleasant. National Trust Gardens are affordable places to visit at any time of the year, especially if you’re still looking for a quiet place to talk. Otherwise, do some research and look at a short walk that you can take in your local community. Even a short walk can be an excellent help for mood and morale.
Organise a coffee morning
A coffee morning can be an easy way to engage members of your community in fundraising and can provide a great opportunity for people to talk about cancer in an open, relaxed environment. Many local venues, such as churches or halls, offer out their space for hire but will often consider to host your coffee morning for a cut price or even for free.
Once you’ve set a venue, you’ll need to publicise the event to make sure that you get plenty of people along. On the day, you’ll need a few helpers to give you a hand with crockery and setting up some tables. Don’t forget that it’s not a coffee morning unless there’s cake, make sure a few people bring along a couple of showstoppers to really wow your attendees and keep a few boxes around for donations.
Run for a charity
There’s never been a better time to get out running for charity. There are now well over a hundred running events that take place in the UK throughout the year. From the humble 5k run organised in your local village, to mammoth events such as the London Marathon; there’s a running event to suit all tastes.
Raising money for your chosen event is as easy as setting up a donation page on Just Giving (justgiving.co.uk). Of course, if you’d rather go back to basics with your fund raising strategy then you can always simply knock on doors in your local community with a clip board! Whichever distance you end up running, make sure that your friend with cancer knows they have your support.
Plan for the future
Supporting your friend or relative can also be as simple as making plans for the future. Whether it’s a walk to the park tomorrow, a dinner out next week or a concert in a month’s time; by organising activities ahead of schedule you can give them something to look forward to beyond their treatment.
The future can seem like an abstract concept when you’re given a cancer diagnosis. Plans for the next year are thrown into the air and you might find that you need to rearrange your schedule to fit in with your friend or relative.
What’s important is that you’re present for them when they need you most.