Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something

I came across a handbook written by parents dealing with Neuroblastoma. You can read it here if you would like. I know  most of you don’t understand the medical things that I talk about…please, it is still like a foreign language to me and I am the mother. If you would like to know more, this handbook is a very good source of information. Just copy and paste the link.

Click to access file_72.pdf

I wish I would have found this at the beginning of all of this. It is full of everything I could have ever wanted to know about Neuroblastoma. Everyone has been asking how they can help and we are so lucky for all the help people have been going above and beyond for us. I found a list in this handbook and it was helpful to me, so I hope it will be helpful to all of you.

When a child is diagnosed when cancer, people instinctively want to help.  Many families have found it useful to appoint a close friend or family member to coordinate offers of assistance.  The lists below are based on the experiences of an Aunt who assisted a large family over the three-year course of her niece’s illness.  Although each of these items may not apply to your situation, they may help you think of other specific ways those who offer to help can assist your family.

25 Ways to Help ANY Family Fighting for their Child’s Life

1) Bring Food Take prepared food in containers that do not need to be returned.

2) Serve a Meal Serve a meal and clean up afterward—it may give parents the only half-hour of spare time they get that day.

3) Make a Donation Donate to an expense fund for the child’s non-reimbursed medical expenses, such as co-pays, home-care medications, and travel expenses.

4) Organize Fund-Raisers. Organize a fund-raiser, so the parents aren’t forced to leave the child’s side to raise money to pay for care and medications. Remember, insurance covers only about 80% of associated costs, and cancer bills often top $1,000,000 after 3 years, depending on treatment.

5) Organize People. Organize a small revolving group to do meals or grocery shopping, etc.

6) Check on Necessary Supplies. Call from the grocery store and say, “I’m at the store…look in the fridge and tell me if you have (a) milk (b) bread (c) apples/bananas (d) lunch meat (e) butter (f) eggs(g) cereal.  Then have them check reserves on (h) pet food (i) toilet paper (j) paper towels (k) laundry detergent (l) soap (m) diapers.  Ask if there are specific brands they prefer or package sizes they need.

7) Little Gifts Mean a Lot. Presents are sweet and thoughtful, but daily necessities are also greatly appreciated. Consider a simple bag of apples and paper towels.

8) Do a Household Chore. Clean the bathrooms or kitchen, change the sheets, or do a load oflaundry. Bring the supplies you’ll need with you, and be aware that it’s often best to do noisy or disruptive tasks when the family is out.

9) Take on a Regular Task. Offer to do a weekly task like drive a sibling to a lesson, picking kids up from school, packing lunches, or helping with homework one night a week. Knowing that they can rely on you doing something consistently gives the family a little predictability. Still, you should always confirm the routine, because their lives are always “up in the air” and a medical crisis may necessitate a change in plans.

10) Help Them Think (no kidding!). Help one or both parents think through the week and obligations for the other children, such as soccer games and parent-teacher conferences.  Ask if there are insurance forms to fill out, bills to be paid, and gas tanks to be filled.  Going through a list like this can help them focus and organize thoughts that may otherwise be a jumble.

11) Take the Kids Out. Take the siblings to dinner, the movies, or another event they’d enjoy. Or if the sick child is able, take him/her to the park, or for a slurpee or ice cream cone. This gives everyone a break and is usually great quality time.

12) Pay a Bill Anonymously. Call the electric/gas/phone company—anonymously if you wish—and tell them you want to pay the current bill for the family.

13) Gift Certificates. Give them gift cards for the grocery store, McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc.

14) Give Them Supplies to Simplify Their Lives. Stop by the house with a bag of paper cups,paper plates, and trash bags to make life easier.

15) Give the Parents a Short Break. Offer to sit and read or play games with the sick child—either in the hospital or at home. An hour break from the stress of constant-care can be reviving.

16) Help Research Treatment Options, Medications, Alternative Medicine, etc. Do the Internet research that is so critical in pro-active education and care, and provide them with printed pages in a file or notebook. Highlight the pertinent information so they don’t have to read the entire report.

17) Give the Parents a Date Night. Babysit one night a month so the parents can go out for a walk, go to dinner, or see a movie.

18) Thank-You’s. Provide stamped thank-you notes and offer to write some for them.

19) Help with Pet Care. Take the family pets to the groomer or to the vet for checkup/shots

20) Help with Car Care. Take their car to the shop for inspections and repairs, or fill up the gas

tank and run it through the car wash.

21) Help with Kid Care Needs. Take the kids for haircuts, medical checkups, and shopping for clothes, shoes, school or camp supplies they need.

22) Help with Holidays. Help pick up holiday gifts and wrap them, or offer to put up their decorations.

23) Support the Mom and the Dad. Determine the best way to emotionally support each parent separately. Mothers may want to talk, bake, rest, or shop; fathers may prefer to a chance to play golf or go to a ball game.

24) Help with Financial Chores. Offer to come balance the checkbook, make deposits, pay bills, or just organize the medical bills.

25) Help with Seasonal Household Chores. Make sure the walks and drives are plowed in winter, grass is cut in the summer, and leaves are raked in the fall.

I am not good at asking for things. To those of you who have been helping and offering to do anything and everything for us, please know that we are so thankful. I think about you all everyday and how lucky we are. For those of you who want to help, but don’t know what or how to offer; because our situation is overwhelming and scary, please just ask. Most of the things on this list are really good ideas. One of the biggest things I can ask of you to do for us is just pray and send us your good energy. I truly believe that will get Ronan through this!

7 responses to “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something”

  1. Maya,

    I just spoke to our office manager and we are going to hold a “Denim Day” for Ronan on October 29. Attorneys and staff at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney will be allowed to wear jeans that day for a donation to the Ronan Thompson Foundation.

  2. Maya,
    You and I have never met but you know my mother Cathy who used to work with Woody and Tricia and Sarah are my sister Heather’s step daughters.

    I would like to offer my help. I can come over and clean the house once a week and do laundry and/or take care of any animals that you have.

    I could also send out thank you notes if you are thinking of doing that.

    Please let me know or put me in touch with whoever is coordinating these types of things and I will do whatever I can.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you,


  3. This is GREAT, Maya! Super helpful. We’re around this weekend so I’ll call text you when we go to the grocery store or Costco to see if you need anything. xoxo

  4. Todd and Kara Schierscher Avatar
    Todd and Kara Schierscher

    Thanks for sharing all of these great ideas….just wish we lived closer so that we could stop by with meals, scrub your toilets ( : , or take your Big Boys out for some fun or help with their homework (Adalie is also in the First Grade!).

    Anway, I was reading another blog today – a sweet neighbor whose Mom is battling breast cancer – and she shared some great ‘anti-cancer’ info on her amazing blog with a video and book suggestion. Thought you might be interested….

    Take care!

  5. You are all in my prayers everyday.

  6. Remember I am coming over next week to set up Halloween. You should LOVE the things I have been getting for you all. I cannot wait to hear the wonderful boys giggle….. That is the best medicine in the world. Looking forward to our visit this week. Hugs and Kisses to you all.


    Gay, Barry and Boys

  7. Hi Maya

    I am going to be running the Iron Girl 10 mile on 11/14 to raise awareness for the foundation and the cause as much as possible! I will be emailing to order a shirt and will wear it that day. Even if 3 people ask what it means, it will be 3 more people that are made aware of childhood cancer.

    As I did my training run yesterday I kept thinking I wanted to quit but thought about how tough Ronan is and pictured his little face and it immediately got me through it. Prayers for all of you!


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