What to Give When So Much has been Taken Away ~ FOUR Boring Gifts that Make a Huge Impact

Last week’s post was focused on what to say and perhaps more importantly, what not to say.  This week, let’s talk about what to give.

Now let me be clear that we appreciated EVERY.SINGLE.THING we were given.  All of it.  It was given in love and with the most genuine intentions and we could feel that soooooo deeply.

But we all want our giving to make the biggest impact.  So this is my attempt to share some of the gifts that stood out as doing just that…

Gift Cards

I know…so boring to buy.  But seriously…SERIOUSLY…they have been life savers for us.  Some of our most helpful ones were:

1237901_10201194184234521_1646011541_nRestaurants: Soooooooo great in the beginning for when I didn’t have energy to cook!  Be sensitive to dietary needs and try to choose places that offer options that will help, not hurt…even if that’s obviously not your intention.  A good rule of thumb?  Stay away from fast food!  We also used the gift cards for date nights.  With a compromised financial situation, going out for a nice dinner isn’t always a priority but taking time for your marriage is really important.  So while you think you’re just giving a meal…you may also be giving a couple a much-needed break and chance to stay connected while they’re on this crazy roller coaster.

Gas: Trips back and forth to the hospital, pharmacy, and just life in general.  I can’t tell you how helpful these were for us.  Try to find out which gas station they go to or is closest to their house or hospital.  Again…your goal is to help and make things easier…not add a treasure hunt to their list of things to do.

Necessity Store:  Target, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club…find out what’s in their area (and if they have/need a membership).  We used those for soooooooooooo much.  Everything from groceries to toilet paper to dog food…it really helped us get by.

Salon/Spa: This is NOT a necessity…but boy was it thoughtful.  When your child is diagnosed with cancer, taking care of yourself flies out the window.  Your child, your other children, and just getting by comes first.  Taking the limited time or money you have to get a pedicure, your hair done, a massage…just not things you really do anymore.  But it is a part of self-care.  I honestly wouldn’t have done ANY of those things without a gift card to help pay for it.  Afterwards I felt relaxed, rejuvenated, and kinda like myself again.

House Cleaning

Oh my GOSH this was amazing.  I was lucky to find the best house cleaner through some great recommendations and in the meantime, gained a new friend.  (XOXO, girlie.)  I had so little energy to clean myself but having a clean home with a cancer kid is much more than just wanting things to be in their place.  Things were where I could find them…our bathrooms, kitchen, and door handles were de-germed…laundry would get done…it made my life so.much.easier. and I had more time and energy to dedicate to things that mattered most.


Again…boring to give but really helpful.  My sister helped research and set up an online fund-raising site and we opened an account at the bank right away.  It helped cover bills, our mortgage, car payment, Dani’s medications and non-insurance-covered complimentary therapies…anything directly related to us weathering the storm.  I’ve heard from countless parents who struggle day in and day out to just keep their lives in tact.  We were one of them.  I have no idea how we would have gotten through this without the selfless donations from our friends, family, and even complete strangers.


11053883_10153235561646183_2664767486706471530_nWe are blessed with the BEST friends and family members who immediately jumped on setting up a meal-delivery schedule.  There are some online tools to help with this like Meal Train.  Be mindful of dietary restrictions and don’t always feel you need to bring dessert!  I have been on the giving end of this as well and I know I always wanna give my BEST meal, with more than enough for everyone, and yummy treats included.  But remember…you’re not the only person bringing food so that’s the type of meal their getting EVERY TIME.  We even scheduled ours to only come 2-3 times a week (because with the gift cards and left overs, we were then covered all week) and we still had sugary snacks around the house all.the.time.  Now… while your intentions are sooooooo good, remember that’s not the best option for those of us who need our energy, don’t have time to exercise much anymore, or are fighting off big sickies like cancer.  So what are you to do…just drop off a bunch of kale chips and celery?  🙂  No.  Gross.  I suggest asking the family for a few of their fave online recipe resources.  If they don’t know or haven’t looked into it yet, here are some that we love:

Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic

George Bryant, The Civilized Caveman

Danielle Walker of Against All Grain

Season Johnson, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and my partner in crime in KICKcancER

So there you have it.  My suggestions on what to say and what to give.  Next week we’ll tackle what to do…


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