What Can We Do?
When a child is sick, many kind people ask how they can help. And my advice on the issue is simple: let them. Throughout the years of Taylor’s illness, people of all ages helped in many warm and wonderful ways. I only hope I said thank you amidst all the mayhem.
A few ways you can help a family in battle or, if you are that family in battle, a few things that go a long way if people ask:
Share your good health by donating blood in the patient’s name. If you are the same blood type, the patient will get it when needed. If you aren’t the same type, another patient will get it, but your friend will know you’ve honored him or her.
Don’t be afraid to ask to visit or ask for visitors. People may be wary of intruding on your privacy, but if you want visitors, say so. If you want to visit, just ask.
Call! Send cards! Text! Keep in touch.
Donate to the patient’s hospital or pediatric cancer organization or participate in a fund-raising event in the patient’s name. Sick children want to get better, but also want to know that others could benefit from their misfortune.
Set up a community calendar so friends and neighbors can pitch in with dropping off dinners, driving carpools, arranging sleepovers, etc. Having a sick child is a juggling act on even the best days.
When a child returns to school after a stint in the hospital, make him or her feel welcome, loved, back in the rhythm of being a kid. The worst thing for a child or teenager is to feel different – show the love by letting them know how normal they are.
Being in the hospital or even sick at home is a lonely and frightening experience for kids, their parents and their siblings. And the transitions in and out of illness and health are overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for or offer help. It means the world.