Throughout the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it’s the kindness of others that often brings hope and positivity to your day. Whether it’s as simple as a phone call or as big as a donation towards your treatment, friends and even strangers can never underestimate the power of kindness on someone facing cancer. Their actions will likely never be forgotten.
We partnered with Fuck Cancer to ask our communities what acts of kindness they have witnessed throughout their cancer experiences. The heartfelt stories they shared reveal that to a person going through cancer, knowing someone is thinking of them and wants to help make their day brighter can help them face their diagnosis. If you know someone with cancer, let these stories serve as inspiration as you support your loved ones.
Here’s what the community shared with us:
1. “When I had cancer, around 12 years old, I was horrified of losing my hair. Most of my male classmates and my best friend (a female) shaved their heads for me and broadcast it on a screen that was in my ICU room since I couldn’t be around anyone. I’ll never forget that day.”
2. “We had a group of friends who dropped off many meals and snacks throughout the eight rounds of chemo. They had coolers put on our back deck. They dropped ice and pre-made meals into the coolers and texted us before and after drop off. They didn’t want to bother us if we were not up to answering but wanted us to know they cared. They even had a list on the preferences of our family. It was pure love that went into that cooler. And felt deeply in our hearts. Thankful for that crew of 10 families who supported the cooler project for six months. Dedication.”
3. “My sister was my caregiver while I was sick and always went the extra mile to try to make my mental state hopeful and take my mind off worrying/feeling overwhelmed. She would take me to markets, out for drives, and to the beach to put my feet in the sand. At times I didn’t feel like doing anything or even leaving the house, but she was always there to encourage me and remind me of all the beauty left in the world to experience. She would also try to help me with meals when I was on a restrictive diet for treatment and even followed the diet with me during one round. I still believe her love and presence was a major part of my mental and physical recovery.”
4. “On the day I went in for my last round of chemotherapy, I looked and felt like absolute garbage. As I sat in lab medicine waiting to have my port accessed a kind woman came up to me and said, ‘In all of my years sitting in the Dana-Farber waiting room I have yet to see someone look as beautiful as you.’ She told me how my smile (the one I thought I lost a long time before this day) radiated from across the room. This woman reminded me that if I got through this last round of poison I could sit in the DFCI lobby for years to come and make other struggling cancer patients smile just as she did for me.”
5. “There was is a little girl, about 9, who has leukemia, and she used to visit me when I first started chemo. Every time she saw me she’d come running over as fast as she could and tell about all the Pokémon that she had caught. She knew I was in pain, and all she wanted was to take my mind off of it… it kills me that a kind and sweet little girl has to go through so much.”
6. “It’s happening right now. We had a burst pipe so a restoration company was brought in. USAA has been wonderful to us. They and the contractors have done many extra things to help us in the house. Old friends are becoming fresh again. I’m treated surely better than I deserve by most. We are humbly grateful to all who have helped or just been kind to us.”
7. “I was diagnosed stage 3 positive breast cancer at 31 (last year) with no children of my own and no time to postpone treatment for six weeks. My oldest friend offered me her eggs to be able to have my own children. Unfortunately due to my cancer type I still cannot carry my own children. There is no bigger gesture.”
8. “I went to check out my town’s brand-new cancer ward. The receptionist asked if I had an appointment, I told her no, I just wanted to see what it was like, as I was looking at a ‘giving tree’ with hats on it. I stopped at one with a breast cancer symbol and I guess she noticed because she asked if I knew someone with it. I told her yes, my aunt did and it runs in my family. She told me to take the hat to give to my aunt and that she’d pray my aunt beat it. My aunt had been looking for hats she liked and that one became her favorite.”
9. “Five years ago my grandfather [died from several types of cancers]. Prior to him losing his life, he had to travel five hours to get chemo, and it was taking a massive toll on my grandmother. The community banded together and made up a driving roster and meals roster so my grandmother didn’t have to worry about the driving or food, it was all taken care of.”
10. “My children and my grandson were there with me each time I had my chemo. In fact, my grandson made me so proud when he went to the cafeteria to get a burger. He was young but when he returned with his burger, one of the other patients getting treatment asked him what he had. He offered to get a burger for the other patient and asked his mother to hold his, not once thinking it would get cold. He went all the way down to cafeteria to purchase a burger for that person. When he returned his own burger was cold but he never complained. At that moment I was so proud that I never felt the pain I was going through. I will never forget that for as long as I live.”
11. “I have tried every treatment option for this cancer and there were no clinical trials in the Midwest. So down to Texas I went to get a second opinion and they had a spot in an immunotherapy trial! But travel and medical expenses were an issue. So out of the blue my childhood friends set up a GoFundMe page that raised $10,000 and ex-coworkers set up this huge benefit for me and my family! All the love and support from friends, family and our community was amazing. I am so blessed to have these wonderful people in my life!”
12. “Friends from church minded my boy while I had chemo, fed my family for three months and cleaned my house. These women from my church were amazing. They made sure my little girl who was 3 did not feel left out, ringing her little gifts when they arrived. No words can express how much they did for us as a family. Their support allowed us to rest and be together rather than shopping and cleaning… In the middle of all this the bank rang. They had noticed we kept going into overdraft and wanted to introduce a new local manager. I explained what we were going through and they suggested an overdraft, $3,000, at no cost to us, for three months. This allowed us to pay the multitude of bills that were coming in and financially survive.”
13. “We just found out my mom was sick and I was supposed to go to a LuLaRoe (leggings) party. Since I had to cancel, the consultant sent leggings to us for free with a cute card. At the bottom she put this. Cancer sucks but we have so much love and support, it will never ruin our spirit!”
14. “My daughter who will be 2 in February has leukemia, and she has been greeted with smiles and hugs each time we enter clinic appointments. Her nurses and doctors all have a special place for her in their hearts, and it shows in everything they do. Her social worker gave us a $500 gift card to help us out with medical bills. That woman is a blessing.”
15. “I’m a stage 4 non-Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor who has been healthy for two years. I had a lot of unexpected kindness from the relative who sent me a card every week when I was sick (at first I thought she was getting older and didn’t realize she had already sent me a card, but she was just genuinely lovely), to a friend across the U.S. who sent me random packages of small things to make me smile, to my hairdresser who didn’t charge me when I cut off my hair to donate when I started chemo and did a free makeover when I got better, to my best friends who gave up our annual girls weekend away and turned it into dinner two towns over from me just so we could be together.
You know who your friends are, but you don’t know the level of compassion people have until you go through a major illness.”