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The Best Gift Ideas for Someone with Cancer

By Audrey Almquist

Co-Founder of www.HumanKindBox.com


Maybe you just found out someone you know and love has cancer. Now what? Chances are, you want to do something, anything, to help. While they may not be comfortable showing it, they need comfort and support from their loved ones - their village. Care packages are a great way to show you care and are thinking of them during the various chemo treatments, radiation therapy, surgeries, recoveries, etc. There is no set price limit or expectations here so just do what you can with what you have -- maybe you do one or a few and guess what? Gift giving will make YOU feel good, too. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have found that during gift-giving, people produce a trio of “feel good” chemicals in their brains: Serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical). Keep reading for our list of gift ideas for someone just diagnosed or going through cancer treatment.


1. Restaurant take-out gift cards or grocery/food delivery services - because cooking and shopping take time and energy.

2. Therapy Lotion - chemo and radiation can wreak serious havoc on a person's skin. We recommend Alra lotion because it is unscented and specifically formulated for skin during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. If you can’t find this, make sure to keep it natural and fragrance-free.

3. Gas cards - there are A LOT of appointments to drive to, some which might be hours away. It might feel impersonal, but it can be incredibly helpful.

4. Nausea fighting foods, snacks, recipes - because: chemo.

5. If they are sharing their journey on social, send them these Chemo Countdown cards created by HKB's genius/survivor/Co-Founder, Grace.

6. Comfy/Cozy stuff for chemo days and recovery days - robe, sweater (bonus if it has easy port or IV access), socks, hats, blankets, pillows, scarves, candles, soothing essential oils, bath treatments, etc.

7. Distracting/Mind occupying items - puzzle books, actual puzzles, games, an iTunes gift card, hobby goods, etc.

8. Inspiration - nothing says “you’ve got this” like something that actually says “you’ve got this.” Look for an encouraging wood block sign, key chain, necklace, bracelet, or meaningful greeting card.

9. Note cards - People are kind and they will most likely want to send some thank yous. You could even include stamps as a nice little bonus.

10. Flowers - If you can swing it, there are some great flower subscription services so they can receive fresh-cut flowers every month.

11. A pretty pill box - meds are a necessity during cancer treatment. There are some discreet, purse-sized pill boxes that can become a cute accessory.

12. A subscription box. We love the snack boxes from around the world. Find some other great ideas at My Subscription Addiction.

13. A journal - all those thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams need to go somewhere.

14. A planner - sooooo many appointments and important dates to keep track of! Bonus if there’s a place to keep track of contact info for doctors' offices.

15. Homemade food delivered - preferably something healthy that you know they will enjoy.

16. Start a Mealtrain or Gofundme for them - this will help other people help you support them. How great is that?!

17. A list of distractions. Share your favorite podcasts, tv shows, and books with them. There will be lots of doctor-prescribed down-time and it can be hard to fill that space.

18. Give the gift of zen with a massage, yoga studio, or spa gift certificate.

19. And finally, the greatest gift of all - you. Stick around, be there, show up! It means more than you can imagine.


Have other great ideas or suggestions for good gifts? Comment below!



About the Author: In 2015, Audrey's best friend Grace was diagnosed with breast cancer while living in Boston. Audrey, living in Detroit, felt an overwhelming need to “do something” for her friend in crisis but had no idea where to begin. Traditional gift shops didn’t have a single thing that felt truly thoughtful or helpful in any way. She googled, she asked around, she did some social media mindhive requests, and came up with some things that were meaningful as well as comforting. With Grace's newfound "expertise", they joined forces and decided to create a place (www.humankindbox.com) to find meaningful, appropriate, personal, and purposeful items for women facing cancer. Because this is where the HumanKind Box story began.


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