Yeah, cancer sucks.
But, there is always a silver lining - you can get free stuff!
Who doesn't like that?
There are many companies that generously offer free services to breast patients. The items offered range from headwear to makeup to classes to gas cards to informational booklets.
Being the super kind and wonderful breast cancer patient that I am, I have compiled a list for you so you can get your very own freebies.
In return, when you do your Amazon shopping, please come here and use my search box to find your items. I want free stuff too! ------->
The American Cancer Society has a lot of help for cancer patients, from classes to goodies. You can get gas mileage reimbursement if you have to travel a certain number of miles per year medical for appointments, and they will send you a $25.00 card to get started. You can get either a free wig or a $75.00 reimbursement on a wig, purchased from certain shops that they will recommend. They offer numerous support classes, such as nutrition for the cancer patient, and many others. They also offer rides for those who can't drive. They are a wonderful resource and kind on the phone too.
My favorite was the Look Good, Feel Better class. You sit with a group of ladies who all have cancer and are in various stages of chemo. A licensed esthetician teaches you to put on makeup to hide the changes chemo will cause, and you also walk out with an amazing goodie bag with tons of free (and name-brand) makeup. (One thing I hadn't thought of - your old makeup has bacteria on it - and when your white counts are low you can get an infection from it. So, this new makeup is not only fun but necessary for your health.) They also had some free hats at the class I took. Check out the website to locate one in your area - it's a national offering.
France Luxe will give breast cancer patients a gorgeous silk scarf of their choosing. Click on good wishes on the top right of the site to request one. The CEO herself will contact you back. They ship free inside the USA and internationally if you cover the costs. These scarves retail for $70.00 so it's a generous offering. If you aren't a cancer patient, buy something from them because they do good work.
Heavenly Hats will send you a package of hats. Keep in mind, these are donated - some will work for your style and some may not but heck, it's free. It was started by a kid and has grown to be a wonderful service for those who have lost their hair.
Fill a Heart offers a free, heart-shaped pillow which comes in very handy after a mastectomy.
Awesome Breast Forms will send a free crocheted or knitted breast form - this is especially nice and light after recent surgery.
If you have had a mastectomy and lymph surgery, you are forever at risk for lymphodema. You cannot have blood pressure taken or blood drawn from that arm. If you are going into the hospital and want to remind medical personal of the risks, you can get a free bracelet from ReidSleeve.com
The Livestrong Foundation offers free downloadable materials, as well as guidebook that will help you navigate your cancer experience. You pay for shipping on the book.
Cleaning for a Reason will provide three free housecleaning services for people undergoing chemotherapy. You have to fax a note from your doctor. May be overbooked in some areas, (like mine) but is a very necessary service for those who can take advantage.
People undergoing active chemotherapy can receive little treats from the Chemo Angels. There is an application process, and you can sign up for a family member to surprise them.
Casting for Recovery is a fabulous organization which offers weekend retreats for breast cancer patients in all stages of survival and teaches them fly fishing. Its a great bonding weekend where you have a blast, learn a new skill, and are spoiled by the volunteers who put it together. They offer retreats around the country and some overseas.
Little Pink Houses of Hope offers free retreats to breast cancer patients and their families on specific dates. They have places from the Carribean to Lake Tahoe. Often, you will be invited to go on short notice. Many have told me they loved their retreat and everything was perfect.
There are numerous local outlets that offer items to smooth your cancer experience. My hospital has an outreach program with a nurse who called me monthly to make sure I was fine and if I need anything, and who delivered a bag of goodies to me in the hospital. Your doctor will put you in touch with this group if it exists in your area.
There is also more functional help for those who may end up in financial distress because of cancer treatment. The National Institute for Health and the American Cancer Society is a great place to start finding these grants. They offer financial help to pay for medication, travel, medical costs, even rent.
I have also found that most wig shops will automatically offer a 10 to 20% discount for chemotherapy patients. If you are buying a wig while you still have hair, make sure you ask.
If you know of any national companies that offer a free item to a cancer patient, feel free to post it in the comments and I'll add it to my list.