Despite the many advances in treatments and more promising survival rates for some cancers, many patients living with cancer often experience the darkness that can come with the disease.
“Cancer treatments can be physically and emotionally challenging to manage, so support from friends and family is critical during this time,” says Meredith Barnhart, a licensed clinical social worker and director of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Information Resource Center. Barnhart leads LLS’s team of social workers, nurses and health educators who provide blood cancer patients and caregivers with free personalized information and support tailored to their specific diagnosis and needs. “Cancer survivors with a strong support system tend to have a more positive outlook and often report a better quality of life,” she says.
If someone close to you is battling cancer, you might be feeling helpless. Here are three easy ways to brighten a cancer patient’s day.
Organize a “Random Act of Light” surprise.
LLS has created a movement called Random Acts of Light, designed to bring light to those dealing with cancer and feeling overwhelmed by the darkness that can come with a diagnosis, by surprising them with a special experience. In addition to brightening someone’s day, you’ll be creating awareness for the critical need to find new treatments and cures for cancer patients. You can share your surprise, however big or small, by posting it on social media channels using the hashtag, #RandomActsofLight. National Random Acts of Light Day is on June 13, but LLS encourages Random Acts of Light surprises throughout the year. To learn more, visit www.lightthenight.org/ways/random-acts-light.
Prepare a personalized nutritious meal.
There’s nothing like being surprised with a delicious and nutritious meal, especially when you might not have the energy to cook for yourself or your family. Good nutrition helps the body replace blood cells and healthy tissues that might be damaged by treatment. Before planning your surprise meal, it’s important to take note of certain foods to avoid, as many cancer patients might be on a restricted diet under the advice of their medical team. LLS offers free nutrition education and personalized consultations to all cancer patients and caregivers. Visit www.LLS.org/nutrition for more information.
Help drive forward the mission.
Get inspired to help more than one cancer patient or survivor by volunteering or fundraising for an organization fighting cancer, like LLS. Do it in honor of a loved one fighting cancer. Participating in a fundraiser to support cutting-edge research projects or volunteering to help create awareness can be especially meaningful for anyone touched by cancer. And doing it in honor of a dear friend or family member can provide the moral support and encouragement needed to cope with a cancer diagnosis and treatment day-in and day-out. Fundraising and volunteering are inspiring and uplifting ways to help save lives as a community. From handing out water to marathon runners to training for a new challenge like a bicycle ride or mountain climb, there are so many ways to help in the fight to end cancer. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org/ways-to-help.