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“How can I help a breast cancer patient?” It’s a question that begs immediate and tangible action when treatments and outcomes seem so out of your control. We want to help our loved ones, but where to start? Ford Warriors In Pink helped us tackle this question with breast cancer patient facts and easy (yet effective) ways to address the needs of Breast Cancer Warriors. The mission? #MoreGoodDays
What We Know About Breast Cancer Patients
Thanks to Ford Warriors in Pink, we have some practical information about what BC patients need most from friends and family during this stressful stage of their lives. Though Americans are largely aware of the health threats associated with breast cancer, more than 40% are unfamiliar with the challenges patients face in maintaining routines and day-to-day life while in treatment.
Only 28% of Americans are sure how to best support a patient going through treatment.
Here’s what the FWIP survey tells us:
83% of patients are concerned about the ability to maintain their routines while in treatment– second only to life expectancy.
52% of BC patients report needing help completing household chores.
40% need help running errands.
40% need help preparing meals during treatment.
44% of patients report needing help to maintain a positive outlook.
43% need help to maintain their self-confidence.
10 Things YOU Can Do To Help A Breast Cancer Warrior
Although the emotional journey of cancer is complex and there is no single solution, there are many easy ways you can help warriors you love to take on the fight.
Diagnosis is often followed by wave of information that may overwhelm new warriors.
- Action #1: Help your loved one navigate the abundance of information by connecting her with charities that offer easy guides to the treatment process – a simple guide to key resources can be found on FordCares.com.
Preparing for treatment, warriors are often intimidated by unknown medical processes.
- Action #2: Connect your loved one with a patient navigator before she begins her treatment cycle, ensuring she has support in keeping track of paperwork and understanding important information.
On her first day of treatment, feelings of fear and isolation are common, and your warrior may wonder whether she’s prepared.
- Action #3: Make sure your loved one feels supported and has everything she needs for her first day, offering her a care package filled with both useful and uplifting gifts. From slippers to keep her feet warm through treatment, to scarves to cover her head during chemo. Ford Warriors in Pink offers a range of inspiring gifts and apparel to outfit patients through treatment.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of treatment is often the struggle to maintain daily routines. Help a breast cancer patient by alleviating her day-to-day burdens.
- Action #4: Meal Train Plus offers supporters an easy platform to organize meal deliveries, childcare, carpools, errands and more for loved ones in treatment. Meal planning and preparation, in particular, is a challenge that many face when diagnosed with breast cancer – not only are patients presented with new health restrictions, but they may also lack energy to take on this daily task during treatment.
- Action #5: By offering free meal kit deliveries, like those provided by Green Chef through Ford Warriors in Pink, you offer patients an easy way to prepare healthy, organic meals for themselves and their families.
- Action #6: Patients may need support in maintaining a positive outlook and finding acceptance through treatment – meditation is one method of self-care that helps lower anxiety and stress for those battling breast cancer. Personal meditation app, Headspace, offers mindful exercises specific to every phase of the cancer journey – gift an annual subscription to your loved one through FordCares.com.
Cancer can feel alienating, as patients often feel like no one truly understands what they are going through.
- Action #7: Help your loved one build a support network of supporters and co-survivors by forming a book club – these recommended reads will inform, inspire and entertain her through treatment.
Breast cancer often brings feelings of being betrayed by her body.
- Action #8: Yoga is a gentle exercise offering simple modifications, which makes it a manageable form of exercise for patients at different stages in their fight. Encourage your warrior to reconnect with her body through Wanderlust’s 21-Day Challenge – an approachable program can be achieved in the comfort of her home.
Many patients feel as though breast cancer takes over their entire lives, so it’s important to remind them that cancer does not define them and they can continue to pursue passions.
- Action #9: Treat a breast cancer patient to an experience that aligns with her interests, like a local pottery or dance class or an at home cooking session using these healthy recipes, to provide a much-needed outlet as they continue their fight.
Fighting breast cancer is a challenge warriors face one day at a time, but the smallest actions can make the biggest difference in ensuring happiness through a trying journey.
- Action #10: Rally family and friends to take little actions to bring your warrior more good days, such as designing and sending inspirational postcards. Bonus: These can be filed for later in a DIY Gratitude Jar!
No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to let your loved ones know that you are there to support her and make her journey just a little bit easier, on days good and bad. #MoreGoodDays
Over the past few years, Ford Warriors in Pink has granted more than 80,000 “Good Day” experiences across the country, ranging from rides to treatment centers, to meal and errand-scheduling services, to home cleanings, meal deliveries, and more.
For other tools, visit www.fordcares.com.