When someone you love is going through chemo, knowing what you can do to help can be hard. Flowers are always nice, but when we asked cancer patients and survivors what they really wanted, we found that there was a clear preference for items that were a little more practical in nature.
“I loved all the flowers at first” said ovarian cancer survivor April Y. “But then I realized how tired I was and how much more I would have benefited from help with cleaning the house or prepping a meal.” Don’t get us wrong, there’s always room for flowers and chocolates, but in this list we’ve put together a few gifts you could consider for the practical cancer patient in your life. These are all sure to bring a smile to their face AND help them stay comfortable during this tough time.
House Cleaning Gift Certificate
There is literally no better feeling than sinking down after a long day into a cozy, clean home. Regardless of whether your loved one is still in treatment or recently finished, you don’t know what kind of a hit her daily chores took during the duration of her chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, and other priorities over the last 12-18 months. Asking in advance whether you can hire someone a maid can be seen as an affront in some cases, so we recommend simply purchasing a gift certificate to a national chain such as this gift certificate from Handy, or simply googling in their area to see what maid servies are well regarded / well reviewed. We promise, this is one of those unexpected gift he or she will remember for a long time to come!
Headspace Gift Card
Price: $69.99 for one year, $12.99 for one month
Finding out that you have cancer is one of the most earth shattering pieces of news a person can hear. Although most people think of side effects as limited to the physical ones from cancer, we can’t underestimate the mental challenge of accepting and battling this disease. Our good friends at Headspace understand this too and have a full series dedicated to the process of accepting and healing from cancer in their library. OneVillage members get a free month just for signing up with code ONEVILLAGE.
Everyone needs a favorite cardiagin that gives you instant cozy. “I have searched high and low for a sweater / shawl that was both functional and stylish, and this is absolutely my favorite of all time,” says Alyssa S. a current cancer patient. “I tend to get really cold during treatment so this is perfect to wrap myself up in and take a nap, or to wear for a quick run out to the drug store or picking kids up at their activities.” Items that are uber comfortable and yet still practical are perfect for a friend or family member going through cancer. There will be lots more time on the couch, waiting for appointments, and time in treatment centers and it will feel great to know that they are warm and cozy.
Zeel Massage Gift Certificate
Price: $25 - $300
After months, or sometimes even years, of being in treatment, everyone can use a little R&R. As long as you’re sure your friend or family member isn’t in an immunocompromised position that might cause them not to feel safe with wellness treatments, giving them the gift of relaxation is sure to put a smile on their face. You can use a national service like Zeel that provides in home massages, or once again you can look up top rated day spas or wellness centers in their area and send a gift certificate that way.
Staying hydrated, especially the day of chemotherapy, has been said by many to reduce the unpleasant side effects of the medications like nausea or fatigue by helping eliminate toxins from the body. Make hydration a little more fun with the gift of a new water bottle to take with them in their chemo bag, or to sip on while on the couch. We love this S’well model because it is certified to keep beverages cool (or warm) for up to 12 hours.
Most patients who go through chemotherapy treatments, and especially those who are cold capping or doing cryotherapy (cooling therapies to prevent neuropathy and hair loss), experience a chill during the infusion process. These cordless electric blankets are the perfect compliment to your friend or family member’s time in the chair, and are perfect for dozing off for a little nap while they wait.
Keeping yourself hydrated and nourished are two of the hardest challenges during chemo, especially becuase nothing tastes good. “I literally tried everything to get some calories in” said Dan F. a current prostate cancer patient who’s undergoing chemotherapy. “I liked every one of these soups, and felt great about eating them because I knew I was getting a lot of hydradition and nourishment.” Send a few bowls or a full subscription.
Small Repairs Gift Certificate
Price: $25 - $100
Just as housework can fall behind during treatment, so can yard work and other tasks around the house. Particularly if your loved one is elerly or lives alone, treating them to a few hours of handyman services can take a huge weight off of them. As with maid service, you can try a national service like Task Rabbit or Handy if your friend or family member lives in or near a major metropolitan area, but if they’re located a little more off the beaten path you may want to consult Angie’s list or google to see who has good reviews in the area.
All of that time waiting adds up, especially if you have a friend or family member doing chemo. Typically infusions are done every 2-3 weeks and can last up to 8 hours. If your loved one likes watching movies and TV shows, playing games, or using social media a tablet can be the perfect gift to help pass hours of time.
Food Delivery Gift Certificate
Price: $25 - $200
We all have those nights when we just can’t muster up the energy to cook anything. In a pinch, it’s great not to have the financial burden of ordering out looming over your head, and just to be able to order something healthy, delicious and quick that the whole family can enjoy. Gift certificates to multi-vendor food marketplaces like DoorDash or Uber eats allows your friend or family member to choose from a large selection of restaurants in their area and have food delivered to them whenever it’s convenient for them. No waiting on a casserole drop or trying to coordinate a tupperware return, this is definitely an upgrade!
Meal Kit Delivery
Price: $25 - $300
Oftentimes particular surgeries or cancer types can require a special diet. For the friend or family member who is taking their health more seriously following a diagnosis, a gift certificate from Sunbasket is the perfect option. With more organic and special diet menu plans than any other meal kit on the market, Sunbasket is a great option for anyone looking to cut down on prep time and time in the kitchen, but doesn’t want to sacrifice the comfort of eating at home.
Chemotherapy is known to cause a metallic or otherwise unpleasant taste in the mouth of patients using this type of treatment. One of the best remedies is candy with ginger or lemon. “I absolutely could not have gotten through chemo without these,” said patient Ashley S from St. Louis. “I kept one of these in my mouth during treatments and not only did it help with the bad taste in my mouth but I also think it was helpful in lessening my nausea as well.” Gin Gins are a fan favorite among OneVillage users because of the great taste and clean ingredients. You might want to buy a pack for yourself too!
Hulu Gift Card
Price: $25 - $100
The amount of time one spends waiting in doctors offices, treatment centers, and other similar situations increases exponentially with the introduction of a cancer diagnosis to your life as either a patient or a caregiver. The best thing to do with the extra time according to OneVillage community members? Find a show or podcast you love, and use the extra time to catch up on something that relaxes you. Hulu is one of our favorite streaming series because of the quality of its original series, but you could easily choose one from HBO, Netflix or any other streaming service you think that they would like best!
With all the extra time in the treatment chair and the waiting room, any cancer patient young or old is sure to appreciate a brand new pair of noise canceling ear buds. “My best friend got me a pair of ear buds when I started chemo, it was such an awesome gift and every time I used them I thought of her,” said Amy F. a breast cancer survivor from Washington DC. This is the perfect gift for the practical cancer patient in your life!
A Really Great Moisturizer
Chemo and radiation treatments can wreak havoc on skin all over the body. One of the nicest things you can get someone finishing treatment, who’s maybe looking to get to feeling more like their old self, a luxurious moisturizer that will be a treat for them to use. Our favorite is this extra thick moisturizer from LindiSkin which is formulated especially for cancer patients.
Still not sure what to get?
We're here to help! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with title 'Wishlist' to get help from a OneVillage team member. We can help you find the perfect gift, start a Wishlist, and find the best support for you and your loved ones.