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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 friend or family member to coordinate help. This is one less thing for parents to have to manage. And it can take away some of the awkwardness to have someone else ask for help on your behalf.
Depending on needs, parents may want to identify more than one person as a point person to coordinate assistance. This should be someone who:
The many needs during the cancer journey can be overwhelming. A first step is to keep a list of what you need. Talk with another family who has been through a similar experience. This can help you anticipate needs that you might not think of ahead of time.
Once needs have been identified, 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:
Depending on the number of organizations and potential volunteers, it may help to have a volunteer coordinator in charge of different organizations.
When people first find out about your child’s illness, you will probably receive the most offers of help. Keep a list of people who offer help. You will need assistance throughout your journey.
When your child is newly diagnosed, consider asking for:
When your child is in the hospital, consider asking for:
When your child is in outpatient treatment, consider asking for:
Free websites and apps can help families manage and update friends and volunteers easily.
Online donation sites make it possible for people to give money directly to families to help them manage out-of-pocket costs associated with pediatric cancer. Friends and family can help spread the word about the fund through social media and email. These sites charge fees per each donation.
Together does not endorse any branded product mentioned in this article.
Reviewed: June 2018