Giving back can take many forms. Here are ideas direct from the local cancer centers on how you can make a difference in someone’s day:

  • One popular item that individuals make to donate are the fleece, no-sew blankets. Younger crafters can make bracelets and key chains out of parachute cord, tissue paper flowers, encouragement cards, etc. Groups can assemble goodie bags filled with candy, chips, tissues, word search/puzzle books, lip balm, pens, cookies, fun hats, etc. One volunteer periodically brings in carnations. Handmade cards from children’s Sunday School classes are always a hit. Cancer center volunteers provide the TLC patients appreciate during their treatment. They also help with meals, coffee, warm blankets, pillows, escorting, and sometimes just socializing with the patients. Contact any of the area cancer centers for details on becoming a volunteer.
  • Those traveling the cancer journey are often prone to being cold or feeling chilled. Handmade blankets, quilts and fleece are always a hit and in demand at all of the area cancer centers (Ascension, Aurora, and ThedaCare).
  • Cookies for the cancer patients being treated inpatient and outpatient
  • Handmade cards of encouragement
  • A Daily Thoughts bag – picture two taffeta bags of different colors. One has a supply of motivational thoughts on tiny cards that are sealed in envelops. Thoughts would be just little motivators, thought provokers, encouraging words, etc. Each day the patient goes to chemo or radiation, they take a note from bag one, read it, contemplate it during treatment, and then place note in bag two. It’s a way to focus on positive thoughts during treatment and count down the days – bag two gets full as the treatment ends. A large card starts the process and includes the instructions. A large “ending” card proclaims, “Hooray you’re done…Come to A Time To Heal” with the following link provided for more information on our free cancer survivorship program: /local-support/survivor . Patients would receive the bag with the correct number of motivational thoughts to coincide with their treatment and the cards could be selected randomly – and may even prompt conversations in the treatment waiting room.
  • From The American Cancer Society – volunteer opportunities abound! Consider coordinating a hat/scarf drive at one of their local walks like SoleBurner, Relay for Life, or Making Strides. Contact the local ACS manager for more information – Kim Kinner, Senior Manager, Hospital Systems, 920-321-1363.
  • From ThedaCare Regional Cancer Care – seat cushions are a new idea and were a big hit with patients who needed a bit more comfort in their lives. The cushions are a 2’x2′ piece of foam covered in a soft fabric, such as fleece, with the ends tied together much like a tie blanket.

Do you have ideas to share? Send your suggestions to