We just found out my niece has a rare cancer in her arm, there are only 124 cases in the world. Then, upon more tests, we found it has already spread to her lungs, which is only the 3rd case in the world. What can I do to help out?


Posted by jess, 20th September 2016


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  • Just be there. Listen. Help out around the house. Do their shopping. Look after any other kids if they have any. Cook meals for them. Just be there



  • I would say just be there for them. Listen when they want to talk or cry and offer practical help like doing the shopping, looking after the other kids, cook a meal, mend their clothing, do their wash, look after the garden, etc.



  • Offer practical support and if you are close enough don’t just issue the offer but assert it (eg “I’m driving to town for shopping what can I pick up for you?”). Letting them know that you are thinking about them in general, rather than asking for particular medical updates.



  • Try to think of things that you can do which will free up their time and stress. Our nephew is going through chemo at the moment, and we offered to look after their house and dogs while they commute to and from the hospital (it is quite a distance). We also stock their freezer with home cooked meals for when they are home so they don’t have to think about that either. We text a lot to let them know we are thinking of them but don’t call much as they are overwhelmed with everything and often they aren’t in a good space. We found that a friend of theirs recently shared everything about their child on Facebook – such a breach of privacy. It was just another thing they had to deal with so if they’re in a good space, ask them what they would like you to do if something similar happens that way you can step in and help out.



  • Hi Jess,
    I am so sorry for all of you and send special loving thoughts your way.
    I am not certain if the parents have other children? When my nephew was going through chemo we would have the other children a lot of the time while parents and son was at the hospital. I also ironed and cooked meals for them. But most important is that you are there for them. Help, a loving person to talk to, a shoulder to cry on etc . This is and will continue to be a very tough time for them physically and mentally and trust me knowing that you care and are there is very comforting. You and your family will be in my prayers and especially your niece.
    Much love to all. xx



  • I’m so sorry to hear this, it’s awful! I doubt there is much you can do other than be there! Lend your ear, offer to cook etc…



  • Just listen. My friends son had cancer and she just wanted to talk about how wonderful he was. I listened. Another friends daughter was a mother of 2 when she recently passed from cancer and I listened. That’s all they wanted was for someone to listen.


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