Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chemo Angel

In researching my "free things for cancer patients" list, I came across something called "Chemo Angels." 

This is a group that matches generous people with those of us who are undergoing chemotherapy.  They send little things in the mail to lift our spirits (which we often need) and generally offer support. 

Naturally, being the responsible investigative reporter that I am, when I found them I signed up.  Yesterday, I got my first letter, a lovely card, and a photo of my Angel and her family.  And, I can't tell you how thrilled I was.  A lot more than I had expected to be.

I don't know how the process goes - how they do the matching. But the woman they matched me with has, at least superficially, many things in common with me.  Our two boys are similar in ages - ten years apart..  (Although she has a daughter in the middle, and the girls in my life are my stepdaughters.) We both have been married a long time. Her picture shows a very lovely family, the kind you would want to meet.  She looks to be about my age too, maybe a bit younger.  (But who isn't?)

Years ago, I participated in a charity called "the Box Project."  The idea is similar to Chemo Angels only instead of lifting the spirts of a person undergoing a physically debilitating medical treatment, monthly you send a box of items to a needy family in rural America.  I liked the idea of directly helping somebody through personal contact, and getting to know somebody I otherwise might not.    I was matched to a woman in Louisiana, and I sent her boxes regularly for a year.  But, I realized it takes a special kind of person creative enough to come up with items to send on a regular basis.  It's not easy trying to please somebody you don't know.

So, I really appreciate those who participate in projects like this because I know it takes thought and dedication.

You might think that a person with family and friends may not need something like Chemo Angels, and I was uncertain too, until I got the letter yesterday.  It warmed my heart more than I could have imagined.  Our family and friends are, of course, are supportive.  But the funny thing is - we worry about them worrying about us.  Each time they do something for us, we know they are frightened or worried or feeling bad for us, which in turn makes us feel a bit guilty for feeling sick.

Or, at least it does me.

So, strangely, support and kindness from a stranger may mean the most because there are truly no strings attached.  We don't even have to respond if we don't want to, although, of course, I will. 

In fact, I guess I am. 

The only thing is, I have a feeling my Angel won't be a stranger forever.    But, I'll worry about that when the time comes. 


  1. Ann,

    That Chemo Angel idea sounds wonderful. I've never heard of it before, but I will look into it in my area. What a great way to lift a cancer survivor's spirits! I am sure that your "angel" is feeling particularly blessed, too! :)

  2. omigod i totally know what you mean about feeling guilty about your family feeling horrible. it's been one of my toughest challenges. here's to kindness from strangers! (could be why i write a blog...)


  3. Thank you for posting about Chemo Angels and The Box Project. I participated in a volunteer effort with my Bible study group last week, and it reminded me that I need to get off my duff and find more ways to volunteer. I've always thought that volunteering was important, but because I don't drive I've felt hampered as far as what I could do besides give money. These sound like projects that I can do without showing up at a certain location at an appointed hour.

    (BTW, thanks for taking the time to comment on my book blog!)

  4. Good evening Ann. I really enjoy reading your blogs. It is very entertaining and very enlightening but very difficult to read because of all you have to go thru to just get thru the day. In the coming weeks, you will see that we have a lot in common - enjoy a lot of the same shows, books, food, lots of things. I am here for you - hoping to put a smile on your face, at least for a minute or two. And I hope in the coming weeks, that we can become special friends. I have with other Chemo "buddies" they are lifetime friends. Even when the Chemo is over, I will always be here for you. You are very special to me!
    Angel Sue :)

  5. Iam not aware of any Chemo Angel programmes over here - but I do have a Breast Cancer Buddy. She is part of a group of women who have been through breast cancer/chemo/surgery/rads - and volunteer to support women like me who are currently going through all that.

    We can never have too much love!!

    P x

    1. Hi Paula! I am the president and founder of Chemo Angels, and we are an international organization. Just wanted to let you know. :0)

  6. What a fantastic project! It's so important to get as much support as possible. It's also important to remember that there are people out there who want to help!


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