How To Be There When You Need To Be There For The People You Love

My junior year of high school, one of my best friends called me and told me the unthinkable. She said “I can’t believe it, my mom has cancer.” 

A year later, two more of my best friends from high school had the same issue. Their mother’s were diagnosed with serious breast cancer. They had to go through endless treatments and surgeries. Additionally, a fourth friend of mine has a mother who passed away from breast cancer when she was very young. 

This is not an easy article to write. I don’t want to pretend that I know what it feels like to have a parent with cancer, because I don’t. The best thing that I have been able to do is support my friends and be there for them. However, it can be difficult to know what to say or what to do. You don’t want to be that person that says the wrong thing. I found that the best thing to do was really to just listen to your friend. Don’t try to give them advice, just listen. It will go a long way. 

Second, don’t try to make everything about your friend’s parent their cancer either. Go out and do fun things, still try to do the same things that you always used to do. Take their mind off of things.  Don’t be afraid to go with them to appointments, or give gift baskets at random times, when the initial shock of the diagnosis wears off. Little things can go a long way.

My friends were very lucky with the fact that three out of four of their mothers are in remission. Still, it makes me feel insanely blessed that my family is ok and no one sick. Every year now, I participate in the breast cancer walk in Central Park with my sorority, and I think of my friends. I think of exactly why I’m raising money, and using a voice for those who couldn’t or can’t. Because one day, there will be a cure, and hopefully no one will ever have to endure this terrible disease again.