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Asking for Help

A diagnosis of childhood cancer can turn a family’s life upside down.

But relatives, friends, coworkers, and community members can serve as a port during this storm.

Sometimes figuring out what you need and how to organize offers of help can seem a little overwhelming.

Consider these ideas:

  • Appoint someone to help organize.
  • Prioritize needs.
  • Make a list.
  • Identify who can help.
  • Consider using websites to help. 

Appoint a Coordinator

A friend or family member can serve as a point person. You will have one less thing to manage. The coordinator should be:

  • Trustworthy
  • Organized and easy to reach
  • Knowledgeable of the family's personal, social, and professional networks
  • Technology-savvy enough to e-mail, text, and navigate websites

The coordinator can also screen visitors to know if it’s a good time to stop by. People’s intentions are good. But there can be so many people coming in and out, especially during the first weeks. It can be overwhelming. 

Prioritize What You Need

You may need assistance at different stages throughout your journey.

Determine Specific Needs

Talk with others who have been through similar experiences. They can help you anticipate specific needs.

These may include:

Pediatric cancer patient smiles at his mom while she holds him

As people learn about your child's illness, many will offer help. Keep a list of people who offer help. Even if you do not have a specific need at that moment, you can reach out later when you have a clearer idea of what might help.

Identify People Who Can Help

As people learn about your child's illness, some may offer help. Keep a list. Even if you do not have a specific need at that moment, you can reach out later.

Match People to Tasks

Put together a list of the people who have already offered their help and others who can be asked. Match them with your needs.

It can help to think of people in different areas of life:

  • School, including teachers, parents, and students
  • Faith-based and community organizations
  • Work and professional organizations

Websites to Coordinate Help

  • CaringBridge

    A personal health journal. It helps patients communicate with friends and family, receive support, and coordinate tasks.

  • Lotsa Helping Hands

    A care calendar website. It provides a way to organize meals and other help.

  • Take Them A Meal

    An online tool for coordinating the delivery of meals to loved ones. It allows meal providers to sign up for day(s) to deliver food.

  • Meal Train

    A virtual tool for coordinating the delivery of meals to family and friends. This service allows meal providers to sign up for day(s) to deliver food.


Together
does not endorse any branded product mentioned in this article.


Reviewed: September 2019