Dealing with Stuff
Supporting a friend whose sibling or parent has cancer
Support from their friends, like you, will be vital for them throughout their journey.
Let your friend know you are there for them.
Contact your friend – even if it is just an email or text.
Don’t forget you are still the same friends you used to be.
They are going to need all the support they can get from friends like you throughout their cancer experience.
That sounds like a lot of pressure but they’re still your same old friend, they’ve just found themselves in a really, really crappy situation.
How to Show Your Support
- Try to understand a bit about the type of cancer that your friend’s parent or sibling has and the treatments they are/will be receiving.
- Talk to your friend: visit them, call them text them, whatever it takes. This can be one of the hardest things to do for the first time. What to say? What NOT to say? Will they be different?
Talking to a friend with cancer might be difficult the first time, but it will get easier, soon it will feel just as comfortable as your ‘pre-cancer’ conversations.
- Keep in touch with your friend regularly. You don’t have to visit them everyday, but phones and computers are super handy in this situation: call, text, email, instant message, Facebook chat, write a letter… so many options = no excuses!
- Make sure you still invite them to things as you normally would. They might not be able to say yes every time, but they’re still the same old friend and they’ll still want to have fun with you.
Remember: if they say no, try not to be offended, it’s not a reflection on you or your friendship.
- Make them an offer. If you say “let me know if there’s anything I can do for you” it will more than likely end up with your friend just saying “okay” and never actually asking for you to do anything.
Instead make specific offers to do things such as:
1. Keep notes when they miss school/uni.
2. If you have your licence you can offer to drive them to the hospital to visit their parent/sibling and pick them up again. Hospital visits can be tough and it will be great for them to have a friend to support them in this situation.
3. Or try to suss out if there’s anything they’re struggling with/need and then offer to help them with that.
- Do something nice for them, it will help lift them and hopefully you’ll get one of those smiles out of them that you’ve been missing. You know your friend best, but here are some ideas to get you thinking:
1. Visit them and call beforehand to see if there’s any food they’re craving that you can bring along.
2. Get some new music or DVDs for them that you’ll know they’ll enjoy.
3. Grab them their favourite magazine or a book they’ll enjoy.
4. Get creative: paint/draw a picture, write a poem or story, make a short film, whatever you’re good at (let’s be honest, you don’t even have to be that good, they’ll love it anyway).
- Just because cancer is serious doesn’t mean you have to be. Sometimes you’ll need to have serious conversations.
But remember, you’re still the same friends you used to be, it doesn’t always have to be about cancer! Enjoy and talk about the same things you always have.
Cancer messing with your friends life?
Cancer messing with your friends life is a postcard for friends of young people living with cancer. It includes practical tips about what you can do to support your friend and stay connected through their cancer experience.
Download your free copy of the postcard at the bottom of this page.
Download file attachment
Email this page
Please choose a group
You can personalise Now What so that you can find information that is relevant to your group easily and quickly.
By selecting a group below that best describes your situation or interests, you will see related content like information fact sheets and other peoples stories that are relevant to your situation.