6 Free Resources Every Cancer Patient Needs To Know About

Usually I’m blogging about feelings and greasy hair and things God has laid on my heart to share with you, but in this blog “we gonna get down to it.” That’s my (new) southern way of saying, I’d like to blog about a few game-changing resources/services every cancer patient, caretaker, friend & family member needs to know about

This ‘down to it blog’ lists the following resources we’ve used to make life just a little bit easier during the hardest, most challenging season of our lives. These resources have saved us big money, time & heartache. I pray these bless you and yours.

1. AirBnB + Cancer Support Community collaboration, AKA free housing

Everyone and their mother needs to know about AirBnB’s new collaboration with the Cancer Support Community. This was a gamer changer for us when I received treatment in California as this covered more than half of the huge bill we racked up trying to live in an AirBnB in Southern California. There are very easy qualifications to receive a voucher from this collaboration. 

What you need to know:

  • In order to receive a voucher from this collaboration, you can only make a certain amount of money, however the maximum amount of income you’re allowed to make in order to qualify is high. 

  • The other stipulation to qualify is you must be a cancer patient who has traveled over 50 miles for treatment. 

  • The program is so new, only one voucher is given per patient. We had to fork- it-over when we relocated to our new treatment center in Georgia, but were so grateful for the support we received for the first leg of our journey. 

  • There is a simple application to fill out but, it almost feels too easy to qualify

  • It takes about a week for the voucher to come through so plan accordingly

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2. Cleaning For A Reason, Aka Free house cleaning for all cancer patients

Cancer comes with blessings doesn’t it? Free house cleaning? Yes please. 

Cleaning For A Reason is a nonprofit organization that serves United States and Canada. Their mission is to give the gift of free house cleaning to women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. Here’s how it works: the nonprofit has recruited over 1,000 cleaning services around the US and Canada to donate cleaning hours for free to cancer patients.

What you need to know:

  • You’ll fill out an application online. Once it's submitted you’ll wait to hear from Cleaning For A Reason & they will match you with a local cleaning service

  • You’ll simply need a note from your doctor to prove you are receiving treatment in order to qualify

  • There may not be any participating cleaning services near you

  • You decide when the cleaners come, but you must be present in the home while they clean

  • I had a friend use this service and she requested that her maids use her non-toxic cleaning products. They happily complied, so give it a shot if you’re worried about your toxicity levels

3. Meal Train 

Meal Train is a free website that simplifies the organization behind people providing free meals to you (in order to remove some of the everyday burdens that can hinder you from rest and therefore healing). Before we even arrived in Georgia a friend of a friend who was going to be living near us during treatment set up an account for us. She shared it with her friend group who immediately signed up to bring meals over. She also then shared it with one of her friends who shared it with her very large church that was just down the road from us. Again those sweet people signed up for meals and blessed us immensely. 

Meal train is amazing because when people ask us what we need, we always have something to say instead of “oh nothing” or “I’ll let you know.” We can tell them we could actually use a meal on _____ night and with such a specific, relatively easy way to help, people are inclined to help. I also love meal train because I’ve met two moms now who truly wanted to help us and immediately offered to bring over a meal or two and recruit a few of their friends to do so as well (southern hospitality is amazing). I was able to tell them we already had a meal train going and we would be so grateful if they wanted to bring a meal, but what would be even better would be if they could simply share our meal train with the friends that wanted to help. Both moms were thrilled to be able to help in what seemed to them such a small thing, but to us was such a blessing. 

Within a week our meal train was almost completely booked. We’ve been here for just over two weeks now and have not cooked a single meal. Did I mention there are blessings that come with cancer?

What you need to know:

  • You don’t need to pay for a fancy version of meal train, the free version is more than enough

  • People don’t necessarily have to cook in order to help with your train. Meal Train also offers the opportunity for people to donate money, gift cards and/or professional meal delivery services

  • They can contact you through the site and ask if they could order your family food from a local restaurant you’ve been eyeing

  • You can choose which days and for how long you’d like meals to arrive + your dietary preferences

  • If you need a visual example of what this would look like for you, here is our active Meal Train

4. Amazon Wish List

If I were forced to choose a favorite resource from this list it would be impossible, but towards the top of the list would be the Amazon Wish List service. This is a completely free way to share with your friends and family (who are more than likely asking what you need and how they can help) exactly what you need and how they can help. 

Many people feel strange simply throwing money at people; Even if they want to give, they may feel giving money is impersonal and would rather give a gift. Your Amazon Wish List is the best way for people to know what you truly need. Although gift baskets are thoughtful, sometimes noise cancelling headphones or a new water bottle for chemo days would be more helpful (and yes, those can be added to your Wish List). 

What you need to know:

  • You can add as many items from Amazon as you’d like

  • You choose the address you’d like the gifts to arrive at and they’ll automatically be delivered there- you don’t have to continuously give out your address to multiple people or post it on the internet for strangers to come and steal all of your new goodies.

  • You simply shop for the products you need/want and when you find them, just under the photos of the product will be an option to “Add To List.” This is how you’ll add your items to your list.

  • Don’t be afraid to add what you truly need- we were definitely ashamed to add toilet paper and the kids vitamins to our list at first, but when we realized our “needs” seemed to be picked up even quicker than our wants, we continued to add them

  • For reference, here is our Amazon Wish List

  • At the same time, don’t be afraid to add items that you don’t necessarily need, but would make life easier or that you’ve had your eye on for a while. People want to spoil you, especially during the hardest season of your life. This is what one sweet friend said after I hopped on IG & FB stories to thank my friends and family for clearing our Wish List within one weekend (she had already purchased items from the list, mind you) People truly do want to help, so let them. 

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5. Venmo

I discovered Venmo after we lost a lot of money from the fees GoFundMe took out of our donations. While I think there is value in GoFundMe, Venmo is a free service and app that allows friends to send money back and forth fee for free. It has been so helpful and painless.

What you need to know:

  • You’ll simply enter your bank info and money can be transferred right into the account of your choice

  • It’s completely secure

  • Did I mention no fees?

  • It not only provides a way for people to donate large amounts of money (up to $2,999 at a time), but also allows friends the opportunity to simply send $5.00 for a green shake from your favorite smoothie shop on chemo day (or something along those lines)

6. Bonfire 

When I was first diagnosed, a sweet friend who owns a t-shirt company designed, sold and shipped a tee shirt she created specifically for me. All of the proceeds went to us and it was uh-mazing. On the tee was a phrase the Lord put on her heart about my attitude towards walking this cancer journey with Jesus: “The Victory Is Already Won,” (darn right). 

Eventually we were selling so many tees she couldn’t keep the inventory in stock or keep up with shipping labor & costs. We decided to utilize a service that would produce and ship the tees for us. This is where Bonfire came in. 

What you need to know:

  • With Bonfire, you can create/upload your own design (or your friend’s if you’re like me), set the price, set the goal, etc. 

  • The site is very user-friendly, don’t worry!

  • There is a fee for Bonfire’s services, but you’ll still earn a profit from the sale of your tees (and let’s be honest, we need to be more willing to pay for services)

  • The tees are very high quality & oh-so soft

  • The money you make from your tee campaign is deposited directly into the bank account of your choice

  • For reference, here is our tee

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Please know, I do not make any money for advertising these resources. It is a joy for me to freely share these services because they have made life so much easier and brought so many blessings that I can’t help but share & pray you receive the same.

Cancer isn’t easy, but with the help of a few good friends & resources it can be much easier. My prayer for this blog is that you would find blessings through utilizing these resources, allow others to help you & know that no matter where you are at in your journey, you are loved and there is a victory to be had!

Ali Christian