Wondering what to get someone who is going through chemo? Through my cancer treatment, I was lucky to have a lot of amazing people come out of the woodwork and give me wonderful gifts for cancer, including gifts to help with chemo sickness, care packages, and more. I had breast cancer, but these tips are great gifts for people with any type of cancer.
One note - please get gifts without pink ribbons for women with breast cancer. The pink ribbon is touchy for a lot of women who don't identify with pink, and in many cases the breast cancer community feels like these items are profiting off of our pain. Only get these if you know your loved one likes the ribbon. Here's some information about "pinkwashing."
No bones about it, chemo sucks and is exhausting and painful. These are the gifts that helped me the most through chemo.
Lemon candies and mints - Everything tastes terrible during chemo, and the only thing I could taste was lemon and mint. Highly recommend.
Gift cards to restaurants or meal delivery services - Feeding yourself becomes and exhausting ordeal. Anything that makes it easier is welcome.
The softest beanies - for bald chemo heads, especially at night when your head gets cold!
Head wraps - These stylish wraps made me feel good and offered some height to my head that made me feel less cancer-y than some of the other head wraps for cancer. Get the big square ones - and this is a great wrapping tutorial. (Also check out hopescarves.org).
A thoughtful quilt or blanket - My aunt made me a handmade quilt to take with me to chemo that made me feel very cared for and special. It felt like good luck.
For Their Kids
If your friend or family member has kid(s), they are likely very worried about whether they will be okay, and they may be worried about how they'll manage parenting and cancer at the same time.
Book and calendar to emotionally support the kids - this set helps kids understand what cancer is, and the calendar helps them cope better with the changes that come from having a parent in cancer treatment. Here's the book on Amazon.
Activities for the kids - games, toys, anything that will keep the kids occupied is good thing. My friend Jo gave my daughter and I a friendship bracelet making kit that was a total hit.
Help them with the kids - If you're local, helping with taking the kids to activities or on fun excursions would be super helpful.
For Emotional Support During Cancer
Weekly greeting cards - One of the kindest things that someone did for me was my partner's mom, who sent me a card every week, just so I knew someone was thinking of me. I love these empathy cards by Emily McDowell, because they are real, funny, and don't mince words.
Cozy socks - My friend Lily gave me these awesome "you got this" socks (along with a cup that said "You're Solid Gold, Baby," and bunch of other cute things, and they made me feel SO special.
A Clean House - This goes a long way for your state of mind. If you're not local, a place like Merry Maids offers gift cards and has locations all over the place (or search Yelp for a trusted local provider).
Inspiring jewelry - I wore a lot of bracelets during treatment that reminded me to keep my head up. MantraBands are a great option (and they have masculine bracelets for men with cancer, too).
High Quality Lotion - Your skin can get really dry during cancer treatment, whether it's from chemo or radiation. Lotion is a great gift, but make sure it's not too heavily scented and contains no added chemicals.
Aquaphor Spray for radiation - Radiation (if your friend/family member is going through it) burns your skin, and it's painful to touch. This spray is the best.
A lightweight water bottle with a straw - I was very tired and couldn't lift my heavy water bottle. A straw is easier to drink out of than anything else.