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14 People Share The Most Thoughtful Gifts They Received During Breast Cancer Treatment

Think personal and practical.

Product, Pink, Text, Graphic design, Material property, Font, Advertising, Brand,
Design by Jewelyn Butron

Absolutely no one wants breast cancer. But the reality is that about one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. And if and when a diagnosis comes, there are some things that can make the shock just a teeny bit better. We asked people for the tangible items, experiential gifts, and even the actions that money can't buy that meant the most to them during their treatment process and their recovery.

So if you want to help a friend or loved one with breast cancer but aren't sure how to strike the right tone (but absolutely want to make them smile), here are 17 creative ideas—straight from people who have been through breast cancer and actually received these awesome gestures—that you probably haven't thought of that will send a supportive, thoughtful message.

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1
Em & Friends
A Card To Make Them Laugh
emandfriends.com
2
Nordstrom
A Surgery 'Prep Kit' (With PJs!)
Nordstrom
3
BlushesAndGold
Meaningful Charms
Etsy
4
Good Old-Fashioned Hangs
Two smiling young women running in park listening to music
Westend61Getty Images

"I think what I appreciated the most was the gift of friends unexpectedly showing up to take me to my favorite coffee shop or boutique shopping, or being my partner in the races that I signed up to run," says Mia Tardive, who lives in LeMars, Iowa.

Cancer has a way of "sucking the life out of you," she adds. "Being able to continue to do things with people I care about and who care about me made me feel like I was still living and able to enjoy life in between the chaos of my daily struggles.”

5
ThisIsMyYearGear
A Sweatshirt With A Personal Touch
6
A Favorite Homemade Snack
Canned applesauce
annick vanderschelden photographyGetty Images

“One of our closest family friends made me fresh applesauce during chemo. It was one of the things that I could eat, and she would make batches and put them in little containers," says Jodi Inverso, from Yardley, Pennsylvania. "It was a perfect gift.”

7
A Massage
Woman having neck massaged
Image SourceGetty Images

“Massage and acupuncture helped me so much in the rough days following my chemotherapy treatment,” says Crollman.

8
InkInTheOzarks
A 'Happy' Package
9
Benefit Cosmetics
Brow Makeup
Sephora
10
A Listening Ear
Best friends walking in the city, arm in arm, rear view
Westend61Getty Images

For Kate Catlin Payne, of Raleigh, North Carolina, the most thoughtful gift was an ear. "The pregnancy pillow saved my life post-mastectomy and the comforts, kind notes, flowers, and treats absolutely lifted by heart tremendously," she says. "But the people who had the guts to ask how I was doing and really push to listen and hear all of my fears and feelings—that is so thoughtful."

Kate adds that when someone really sits with you and wants to hear you and learn and support, it is so appreciated. "Oh, and if they'll also wash your hair because you can't shower for 10 days post-mastectomy, that is super thoughtful too!”

11
A Home-Cleaning Service
Man holding mop and plastic bucket with brushes, gloves and detergents in the kitchen
seksan MongkhonkhamsaoGetty Images

“So many thoughtful gifts came my way: A woman who I only know from Twitter sent me a Beyoncé-glam wig. A friend's daughter regularly drew me pictures of peacocks and mailed them to me because I love peacocks," says Liz Dwyer, who lives in Los Angeles. "But the biggest one is that my colleagues hired a cleaning service for me that came once a week. That saved me.”

Look into cleaning services or apps (think: Handy) that service the zip code where your loved one lives.

12
Planning Help
Party hat and party blower on table with confetti
Westend61Getty Images

If your friend or family member has something big on the calendar that they still want to see through, offer to help lighten the load by taking on some of the planning or other odds and ends that need to get done.

For example, “one of my closest friends planned a half birthday party for my 2 1/2-year-old son during my chemo,” Inverso says.

13
Handwritten Notes
Directly Above Shot Of Greeting Cards On Table
Michelle Patrick / EyeEmGetty Images

“Handwritten notes were the best during my treatments," says Stephanie VanEman Jones, of Louisville, Kentucky. "Nothing better than getting mail that wasn’t bills!”

14
The Connecticut Home Company Soft Fluffy Faux Fur Bed Throw Blanket, Luxury Sherpa Reversible Blankets, Comfy Plush Washable Accent Throws for Sofa Beds, Couch, Fuzzy Home Bedroom Decor, 65x50, Merlot
15
EMstudioCrafts
Supportive Bracelets
etsy.com
16
Tervis
Wonder Woman Mug
amazon.com
17
Childcare
Child playing with wooden cubes with numbers and colorful toy bricks on a turquoise wooden background. Toddler learning numbers. Hand of a child taking toys.
goodmomentsGetty Images

“My mom put her life on hold and flew down every other week for 20 weeks to be with me. She watched my kids, who were only 3 years and 8 months old at my diagnosis," says Kristine Franklin, of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina.

Kristine's mom took care of her children during her daughter's treatments and when she was too sick and exhausted for those days following. "[My mom] was there so my husband could go to each treatment (minus the one she came to)," she explains. "I also had friends come in and help with the kids when I needed. They all would step in and help without hesitation.”

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