About this time last year, I wrote a column on buying holiday gifts for people with cancer. I discouraged gifts that focused on illness.
Bob Riter is the Executive Director of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes and writes a regular column about living with cancer in the Ithaca Journal (reprinted here). Bob’s involvement with cancer education and advocacy began with his own diagnosis of breast cancer in 1996 at the young age of 40.
Since this is a gift-giving time of year, I have been thinking about gift suggestions for people who are being treated for cancer and for those who have recently completed treatment.
My job is to listen to people affected by cancer and to help them however I can.
I’m often asked how to be a friend to someone with cancer. I generally answer this question by encouraging them to be good listeners and to be present for their friend in every sense of the word. The best friends are what I describe as “groundhog friends.” Remember the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? [...]
I sometimes get asked various versions of this question: “My father has advanced cancer, but they don’t seem to be treating him very aggressively. Why aren’t they doing surgery to remove the metastases in his lungs and liver?”