Bring a Smile to a Cancer Patient

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Although writing about subjects such as cancer might not seem very positive, this article is all about being positive and inspirational.

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I have been covering cancer prevention and latest research for years now, but when cancer hits close to home, it brings a whole new dimension to the issue.

Last year, one of my very close friends was diagnosed with the most aggressive breast cancer type, and she took swift action and an aggressive approach to treatment. Eight months later, she’s still in the process, making progress one day at a time. She might be one of the strongest and fearless beings I have met in my life. Yet she admits battling cancer is harder than she has ever imagined.

Few months later, my then 10-year old niece was diagnosed with Hutchinson lymphoma. It came out of nowhere, like lightning on a sunny day, and boom-stage 4 cancer. The whole family was crushed by the news, but the right decisions were made and she has been in successful treatment since. She’s a very strong 11-year old now, fighting like a lioness every day, and enjoying her life despite the physical pain, discomfort and endless hours in hospitals and clinics. She had been counting the times blood had been drawn from her arm. We asked what was the count on Christmas day, it was over 170 times. We stopped asking ever since.

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Before….

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…and after

When I was approached to be part of the Kindness campaign, I didn’t hesitate a second. How could I not help spread so much love and positive energy!

As part of wellness and health community, we created these simple, yet very helpful gift baskets, that my team and I delivered to 2 cancer patients in our area.
Let’s look inside:
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1. Useful hospital items

Since most hospitals feel like “freezers”, there’s never enough items to keep you warm and cozy, especially since you are sitting there for hours while receiving therapy. Simple items like warm socks, small blanket or shawl and any kind of head covering, do make a huge difference. Especially if you can fit them all in a large Ziploc bag, so they can easily be part of any handbag.

2. Healthy snacks

Let’s face it: when we feel down or in pain, we tend to munch on unhealthy stuff. And most hospitals don’t have vending machines offering healthy alternatives either. Therefore, any healthy, easy to carry snacks, such as whole grain snack bars with real fruit, unsweetened dry fruit and unsalted nuts, can be good companions providing nutrition and pure energy so needed during the long painful hours. Fresh fruit and vegetables are great as well, but remember to be practical and choose the ones that don’t need any preparation or get too messy, such as carrots, celery, or apple slices.

3. Wellness items

Herbal massage cream and/or massage roller stick can come handy in the hospital but also at home, while recovering. Even simple skin massage helps stimulating blood flow in the body, releasing pain, relaxing the patient and speeding recovery. Essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus can also help reduce inflammation and provide relaxation.

cancer, good cause, gift basket

4. Healthy meal

Since cancer effects not only the actual patients but their families as well, preparing a healthy family meal will always be welcome. You can go simple and make a fresh veggie or mixed salad accompanied with a multi-grain bread, or you can cook up a real meal such as whole grain lasagna with veggies, whole-wheat pizza or risotto dish.

5. Entertainment items

Good book or a magazine will never go to waste, but opt for something funny or inspirational. Cancer patients need motivation, not added stress or fear, so be very selective with any reading material. Brain exercise might be a good choice too, a fun puzzle or a quiet table game can help re-direct the focus from the tubes to the game.

These are just few examples of helpful items. You don’t have to make anything elaborate; sometimes a small gift that comes unexpected and from the heart can make up for the pain one is enduring at the moment.

Ready to go

Ready to go!

Smile is contagious! If we can help bring those smiles back one cancer patient at a time, we are spreading kindness from our community to the rest of our country and to the whole world! Get inspired and get involved!

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Special thanks to members of our community and mainly to the Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. to initiating and supporting this campaign! We have already inspired others, who made these adorable little gift bags filled with many useful items for several cancer patients!

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Be kind and share your kindness!

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Author:Katka Konecna-Rivera

Katka Konecna-Rivera, co-founder and host of Living Green with Baby, is an architect focused on sustainable design as well as a filmmaker, writer and personal wellness coach.

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