Supporting Cancer Patients

I love surprise gifts. LOVE them. Love surprising others and love being surprised. There is a long standing joke in my family about how no one gets their Christmas presents on Christmas Day because I can’t stand to wait to see them open them and insist they get opened as soon as I can get them wrapped.

So when strangers come to see me at OHA with something to donate to our patients, I get real happy real fast. Yesterday was one of those days. A lovely lady named Suzanne from Indianapolis was in the treatment room sitting with a friend in chemo. She is a teacher at a middle school in Indy and gave her students an assignment to paint something with the theme “hope,” and that these masterpieces would be donated to patients in healthcare facilities. She wrapped up the finished work with little wooden easel, a copy of the Serenity Prayer and an inspirational bookmark. Since she was coming to the chemo room, she figured there would naturally be folks here who could use a little, “hope,” and gave me a bundle of 20.


Gifts to chemo patients bring hope and joy during difficult days.

I was amazed. Yes, I certainly do know some folks who can use a little hope.  I am saving this particular gift to give to my chemo friends on their first day of treatment. Cancer is one scary word, and “you need chemo,” can be even scarier.  I have had many patients tell me that they could hardly walk into our building on that first day. That the dread, the fear, the anxiety is all encompassing.  Unfortunately, I see that fear face almost every day. And so, on the first day of chemo, we buddies do everything in our power to help you relax a little and get through it.

One of those things is a chemo buddy gift bag. Filled with small incidentals that you may need and probably forgot, some light reading materials, a game book and of course snacks. We also give our patients either a fleece blanket (made by a survivor) or a home made quilt made by the men at the Wabash Correctional Facility.

It’s a great ice breaker and it helps to take your mind off chemo while reminding you that people you don’t even know care about you and are standing with you in this fight.

So yes, a picture of hope goes really nice with that package.

This is just one of the ways that Chemo Buddies serves our patients. It can be costly so we are always looking for donations – both of items to give and financial donations to purchase items.  If you would like some ideas on how to support patients who are in chemotherapy, check out our “support” page online at

And on behalf of all of our cancer warriors, thank you.