I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for October, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Resources

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 16, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – We invite you to post Breast Cancer Awareness Resources.

Here are some of the resources we have found:

National Breast Cancer Foundation

I Did Not Know What To Say – Cancer Resources

Mom’s Best Recipes – Cancer Resources

The Ellen Degeneres Show

American Cancer Society

Avon Walk

Remember, Early Detection Helps Save Lives

Self Growth Breast Cancer Resources

Recover with Angels
The Recovery Care Gift Basket is designed specifically for the recovering breast cancer surgery patient.

Your Prayers for Those Touched by Breast Cancer

Ford – Warriors in Pink

Stand Up to Cancer

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Pink Purpose – Promoting breast cancer awareness every day!

My Hope Space
www.MyHopeSpace.com offers cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and their support network an easy way to communicate and share their stories, their struggles, and their accomplishments with other members.

Wings of Angels
Wings of Angels Provides Breast Cancer Recovery Care Packages and Healing Gift Baskets Healing with breast cancer therapy and other recovery treatments can be painful and uncomfortable. That’s why Wings of Angels creates breast cancer care packages and recovery gift baskets filled with items that comfort and soothe the healing patient.

My Pink Planner
An online scheduler connecting cancer patients and those who want to help them.

Breast Cancer

Understanding Breast Cancer

Fight Pink
Fight Pink™ shares Survivorship stories through the web site, while raising awareness for Breast Cancer through community events and projects by partnering with local and national organizations dedicated to the cause and searching for the cure to Breast Cancer.

Mayo Clinic – Breast Cancer

The Breast Cancer Site
Click to give free Mammograms

Posted in Breast Cancer Resources, Cancer Resources, Caregiver | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

My Friend is Sick: Should I Give Food or Money?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 12, 2011

Guest Blog
Ethan Austin is the co-founder of GiveForward.com


When my mom found out last month that “Mrs. Gorman”, our next door neighbor of twenty-five years was diagnosed with cancer, she immediately jumped into action, preparing a big pot of my grandmother’s famous beef barley soup. She whipped up a batch and brought it over to the family who was thankful for the gesture. On that first day, a home cooked meal was exactly what the Gormans needed. It calmed everyone’s nerves and brought a sense of normalcy into an otherwise very unnormal day.

As word spread around the neighborhood about the Gormans, everyone wanted to help, and so the food parade officially began. Soon the Gormans had more comfort food than they knew what to do with — their freezer was overloaded with lasagna and meatloaf galore.But even with all this love and (highly caloric) support coming in from the community, it became obvious very quickly that what the Gormans actually needed was money. The Gormans are middle class folks with full health insurance, but cancer is financially overwhelming for just about anyone, so a little extra money to reduce the added stress of bills and co-pays can go a long way.
Sadly, instead of giving money, everyone just kept giving food. Throughout the week it was more food. And more food. And more food. All the neighbors knew that the Gormans could use extra money to get through this difficult period, yet, no one wanted to talk about it. It was the proverbial elephant in the room.
Later that week my mom said to me, “I feel so helpless. What else can we do to help?” For me, the answer seemed obvious. Having seen thousands of families in the exact same situation over my years at GiveForward, I said to her, “They need money, right? Set up a GiveForward page for them so friends and family can contribute.”
But what was obvious to me, wasn’t so simple for my mom. It made her uncomfortable to bring up the issue of money. ”Won’t they be offended if we set up a page for them?” she asked. ”Possibly,” I answered, “but what’s worse: offending their sense of pride or allowing them to get so stressed out about their finances that they can’t focus on getting better?” My mom agreed with this logic and mustered up the courage to email our neighbor’s daughter-in-law about GiveForward. Instead of being offended, the daughter-in-law thanked my mom profusely. It was exactly what they needed.
I am super-proud of my mom for standing up and doing the right thing when no one else would. But sadly, I think the story of the Gormans is all too common and exemplifies how backwards we are in this country when it comes to giving. We’re more than happy to give money in celebratory times like weddings, graduations, and first communions. And we’re also happy to give money to people in far off places whom we have never met. But when our closest friends and family get sick and really need money the most we choose to send lasagna! I suppose lasagna is safer than sending money and by sending it, we don’t risk offending the ones we love and care about. But I don’t think lasagna is enough. It’s absolutely great for one day, but it doesn’t begin to solve any of the bigger problems the family is facing.
On the other hand, setting up a fundraiser for a friend is the opposite of sending lasagna. It’s risky and can be a bit scary. What if I bring up the issue and my friends take offense to it? Or what if I set up a fundraiser and nobody gives? Without a doubt, there is a greater chance to fail with a fundraiser than there is with lasagna. If I have learned one thing in my three years at GiveForward, however, it’s that doing the right thing isn’t always comfortable and it’s rarely easy. But it’s worth it! When you open up your heart and do something truly meaningful for another person it becomes infectious and you will want to do it over and over and over. And others will too! So, the next time you find out a friend or loved one is sick, before you jump into the kitchen to prepare some comfort food for them, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself: do they really need any more lasagna?
Ethan Austin is the co-founder of GiveForward.com, an online fundraising platform that has helped thousands of families raise millions of dollars online for out-of-pocket medical expenses. He has had the great pleasure to work with Jeannett for the past year and feels lucky to be able to call her a friend (even though they have never met in real life). More than anything, he is absolutely thrilled that through their work together, wonderful people like Vanessa and her son Brock have found and benefitted from GiveForward.

For more Thoughtful Gift ideas, visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to Choose a Thoughtful Sympathy Gift

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 3, 2011

The grieving process can be as unique as ones finger print. Each person brings to the journey their individual personality, their connection with the person that passed away, their religious/spiritual beliefs, their feelings about death, and their life experiences. When it comes to choosing a thoughtful sympathy gift one size does not fit all.

Finding the perfect sympathy gift to express your deep concern and provide the recipient with a lasting gift that honors the memory of their loved one, is not an easy task but not an impossible one.

As you consider what might be an appropriate sympathy gift for your loved one, here are a few things to consider:

1. What are their religious beliefs? If they are religious, take a few minutes to consider the customs and norms of their religion. Some religions have specific beliefs about giving gifts after the death of a loved one. If they are not religious, be sure to stay away from religious gifts that may offend them. Remember, this is a time to be supportive, not a time to push your own belief system.

Gift Idea: I received a beautiful Angel with a candle that includes Psalm 27: 1 – The Lord is My Light and Salvation. This Angel sits next to my bed and I am reminded that through lives ups and downs I am not alone.

2. What are the circumstances? The cause of death and the significance of the relationship between your friend and the deceased are important factors to consider when choosing a sympathy gift.

Gift Idea: A friend that lost a pet may appreciate a stepping stone with the animal’s name on it to place in their garden. A mother that is grieving the loss of her child may welcome a thoughtful journal and a personalized memory box with the child’s name inscribed. Sending flowers and being a good listener to a husband whose wife has been murdered may be the best way to offer your support.

3. What is their age? A grandmother may want a different type of gift than a friend in her twenties.

Gift Idea: When my mother passed away a good friend of mind gave me a Calvin & Hobbs cartoon book. Life was so heavy at the time that having something that made me laugh was just what I needed. I was 25 when my passed away and for me it was the perfect gift.

4. What is their gender? Gender plays a big part in the type of gift that is appropriate. A male friend may enjoy a round of golf with you much more than a candle or a piece of jewelry.

5. What do they enjoy? Try to find activities that bring them joy and help them reconnect with life. A relaxing day at a spa, an enjoyable afternoon at a baseball game, or a nice afternoon tea, are just a few gifts that you can share with your loved one.

Gift Idea: A few weeks after my mom passed away, my friends took me on a trip to Disneyland. What a wonderful gift this was to help bring joy back into my life.

6. Do they have any allergies or food restrictions? When choosing a food gift basket or if bringing food to the family, be sure to check to see if they have any food allergies or are on a restrictive diet. You don’t want to buy a bottle of wine for someone that does not drink. Or bring peanut butter cookies to someone that is allergic to peanuts.

Gift Idea: Don’t have time to cook, Sympathy Food can provide a complete nutritious meal to a grieving family.

7. Do they have pictures in their home or scrapbooks? If your friend enjoys displaying memories in their home, a personalized picture frame or a decorative scrapbook that they can keep mementos in may be an appreciate gift.

8. What type book will reach them? If choosing a book, consider the stage of grief your friend is in. The first few months after a loss can be extremely difficult and it may be difficult to concentrate. Books that are easy to digest and provide coping skills by people in similar situations may be best.

Gift Idea: I received a very meaningful, yet simple book after my mother passed called “How to Survive the Loss of a Love”.

9. Think outside the box. Gifts don’t need to be traditional; they can be as unique as your imagination.

Gift Idea: When my friend Dan passed away I could not afford the last minute airfare to attend the funeral. A friend of mind paid for my ticket using his frequent flyer miles.

10. Offer your support. Some people don’t need or want trinkets, books or movies; they just want a friend that will be there with a listening ear, a hug, and a warm heart.

Buying a special gift basket, inspirational book, customized picture frame, memorial ornament, or sending flowers to a grieving loved one can brighten their day and lift their spirits during a difficult time.

For more Thoughtful Gift ideas, visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

© 2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »