Breast Cancer doesn’t have an awareness problem.

It has a “how can I help?” problem.

We’re pretty sure you’re aware of Breast Cancer. Maybe even painfully aware. With 1 in 8 women diagnosed in their lifetime, you likely know someone, work with someone, or maybe even love someone who’s fighting the battle right now. And you probably also know someone who’s survived breast cancer. 

Take a minute, her name will come to you.

That’s what happens when a disease becomes so prevalent that it feels like someone else we know is getting it (and yes, beating it) every day. We give it its own month, talk about the numbers, raise money, and wear pink. We join the fight, click the link, wear the t-shirt, raise awareness. It feels good to help because we know what help looks like.

And then it happens. Someone you know is diagnosed and you’re standing face to face with them, shocked and completely unaware of what she needs or what you can do to help. No pink ribbon is going to make her better. No donation is going to change her diagnosis. So you do what we all do—you say something nice, try to be encouraging, make a polite offer to help with whatever she needs… and wait for her to tell you exactly what that is. 

If you’ve ever heard yourself say something polite like, “Let me know if there’s anything you need” this page is for you.  

It’s not groundbreaking research or medical advice. You can find that here. It’s just real world, anybody can do this, don’t wait for someone to ask, things you can do to help someone you care about get through a really tough time.

 

If there's anything I can do, just let me know.

This is us, letting you know.

So here’s the deal. She’s not going to tell you what you can do to help. That, my friend, is up to you. But we’ve got a few suggestions. Here’s how to go from Polite to Pink.

Polite:^700 Let me know if you need anything.

RIGHT:^700 Just pop it in the oven at 325 for 15 minutes.^1000

Polite:^700 I can't imagine how hard that is!

RIGHT:^700 Where do you keep the dishwashing soap?^1000

Polite:^700 Did you get my flowers?

RIGHT:^700 Do you usually weed around the flowerbeds or just around the sidewalk?^1000

Polite:^700 You're so strong, I know you can beat this.

RIGHT:^700 It's a little strong, but I had them put extra cream and sugar in the bag.^1000

Polite:^700 HOW are you feeeeling????

RIGHT:^700 Feel like going to the movies? I can pick you up at seven.^1000

Polite:^700 You look much better than I thought you would!

RIGHT:^700 Looks like I'm free to take you to your appointments on Friday!^1000

Polite:^700 Call me if you need anything.

RIGHT:^700 I called the salon. They can get us both in for mani-pedi's on Saturday!^1000

Polite:^700 Everything happens for a reason.

RIGHT:^700 Is there any reason this sweater can't go in the dryer?^1000

Polite:^700 Oh, I was just thinking about you!

RIGHT:^700 Oh, and don't forget to send me your grocery list this week! Looks like you're out of milk.^1000

Polite:^700 If you ever want to talk, don't hesitate to call me.

RIGHT:^700 Why don't we just sit here. I'll listen, you talk.^1000

Some helpful things

When you can't do it all

Nothing takes the place of showing up. But sometimes, you need to delegate. Here’s how to get things done:

  • Rides to Treatment
    If you can’t drive her to treatment, the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program can probably help.  Call 1-800-227-2345 to arrange transportation once treatment dates are scheduled.  It can take a few days, so plan ahead.  All drivers go through security checks and training.  (They always need drivers, by the way.  Volunteer here
  • Grocery Delivery
    We love this delivery site!  Have groceries delivered to your friend in as little as an hour from stores like Kroger and CVS. And your first order is free!
  • Dinner to the Door
    No one said you have to cook.  Let Doordash bring dinner (or lunch!) from her favorite restaurant. You can do the dishes.
  • Household Help
    Need someone to shovel the snow, fix the dishwasher, or add a handrail to the front porch? If it’s on the to-do list and you can’t do it, you can find help here. 
  • Help Paying for Treatment
    If you’re in Indiana, these folks are here to help.
  • Lawncare
    Don’t have a mower? They do. 

 

 

When you don't have all the answers

No one expects you to have all the answers. But a good friend knows where to find them. There’s a wealth of information out there. Here are a few places you can go to get started.

  • But what about my job?
    Not all employers are the same. No one should have to fight for their job too, so for career guidance for people fighting cancer, we like this site http://www.cancerandcareers.org/en
  • How can I afford this?
    As if there’s not enough to worry about, paying for treatment can be a struggle. The iWin Foundation might be able to help. (Indiana Residents only)
  • Can I make you anything?
    Before you cook your famous baked spaghetti, you might want to check out The Caregivers Kitchen.
  • What’s next?
    One thing we know for sure is that life will probably not be back to whatever normal is for a while. Learn what to expect here.  Life after Breast Cancer.
  • Blogs and Podcasts 

Lump to Laughter

 

When you want to do more

There are so many things you can do to show your support, especially in the month of October.  Here are a few of our favorite ways to connect, disconnect, or give back.

Local:

    • JOIN US at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 21  Details and registration here
    •  Maybe she needs a distraction!  Take her to a movie with heart. The 26th Annual Heartland Film Festival is Oct 12 – 22 in Indianapolis.  

 

Global: 

What can I do now?

For starters, you can share this page with someone – anyone. You never know who might need it!

Also, we created these neat posters for you to spread around your workplace. You can download them and hang one up in your office. Although, you should probably let HR know first.

Now, if you just can’t find the right words, and you don’t have an oven or a lawnmower, you can always speak the universal language of donation. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is making a real difference for patients and families, every step of the way.