One of the most remarkable aspects of the cancer experience is the discovery of just how many compassionate people there are in the world. Just when a cancer patient is feeling most alone, most economically stressed, and most unable to find anything positive in their life, somebody steps forward to offer a helping hand, a kind word, and something to make them feel special. Some of the individuals and organizations that offer help and services are inspired by their own encounters with cancer, while others are simply motivated by the desire to reach out and help those who are most in need. In addition to offering support with day-to-day services such as food shopping or house cleaning, there are a remarkable number of generous offerings such as massages, trips, make-up, and more, all specifically designed to make the cancer journey a little easier financially, emotionally and spiritually.
Casting for Recovery
Casting for Recovery was founded by a breast cancer reconstruction surgeon, who felt that by offering breast cancer patients the opportunity to spend a weekend fly fishing, they would learn valuable coping skills and connect with others who were sharing their experience.
Yoga Bear’s mission statement is “connecting cancer fighters and survivors with healing yoga,” and though the organization was originally started in San Francisco, it now offers free yoga classes in 25 states, through over 200 studios.
Cleaning for a Reason
Cleaning for a Reason was started by a Texas woman who owned her own cleaning company. When some of her clients started cancelling their service because their medical bills were making it impossible for them to continue paying, she suddenly realized that this problem must be going on nationally. She recruited cleaning services from around the country to offer free cleaning services to women undergoing cancer treatment, then launched Cleaning for a Reason. The service is available at no cost for up to four months, and is available in all fifty states and in Canada.
Look Good … Feel Better
This program provided through the American Cancer Society schedules workshops held at hospitals and community centers in which cosmetologists and beauticians provide tips on how to cope with hair loss and how to adjust to changes in skin, nails and self-esteem. There is a special program available for teens, as well as for men.
Heavenly Hats is a foundation that collects and then distributes new hats to cancer patients who have lost their hair, as well as to those suffering from other medical conditions that cause hair loss. The organization has been operating since 2001, and since that time has sent almost 3 million hats to hospitals and clinics, as well as to individuals.
Happy Chemo! endeavors to identify companies and organizations that are willing to provide products, services and resources to cancer patients. In some cases discounts are offered, and in others patients can sign up to receive free gifts and samples of products that may be useful for them.
The Cancer Card Exchange
The Cancer Card Xchange collects monetary and gift card donations and then distributes gift cards to verified cancer patients. In 2015, The Cancer Card Xchange sent gifts filled with a total of $41,730 in gift cards to 501 people facing cancer. Since 2011, CCX has sent $173,353 in gift cards to 1,894 people facing cancer.
Good Wishes Scarves
Founded by the owner of a hair accessories company, Good Wishes provides an It’s a Wrap© or Good Wishes square scarf to anyone experiencing the thinning or loss of hair as a result of illness or treatment at no cost. Their goal is to ease the journey for women with cancer.