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Classroom and Community Support Ideas

Ways to be a friend to a child with cancer

Someone you know and care about has cancer. What can you do to show them you care and are thinking about them while they’re getting better? Here are some ideas for classmates, parents, and other community members that have been suggested by cancer patients at nationwide Children's Hospital.

Ideas for classmates:

  • Use the Monkey in My Chair backpack to send messages and homework back and forth to your friend.
  • Send special e-mail messages.
  • Set up a phone call list for making get-well calls and to share the latest classroom news.
  • Send letters, cards and pictures from the classroom. When the child is in the hospital, electronic cards can be sent via the Nationwide Children’s Hospital website by clicking here.
  • Make a video greeting card from the classroom.
  • Make a play date at home or in the hospital.
  • Set up a pen pal list for classmates to send notes and cards.
  • Create a scrapbook about school and classroom activities.
  • Create a special edition classroom newsletter.
  • Schedule homework dates with special friends.
  • Arrange for a brief visit to the classroom by the child with cancer when possible.
  • Keep classmate involved with extracurricular activities whenever possible (i.e. scorekeeper for the team or assistant editor of the school newspaper).

Ideas for parents or community members:

  • Be a parent “buddy” to assist with errands or special chores.
  • Help with transportation of siblings to school or activities.
  • Offer to help with family pets or household chores.
  • Create a support network for regular phone calls to the parents.
  • Create a list of “crisis parents” for emergencies (i.e. baby sit siblings in the middle of the night when a child with cancer must go to the hospital).
  • Involve parents in school events whenever possible.
  • Go grocery shopping for food that is easy to prepare or already prepared.
  • Make an offer to sit with the ill child so the parents can spend some time together or with siblings.
  • Provide family with gas cards, restaurant gift certificates, gift cards for the grocery store or other gifts that will be useful for everyday needs.
  • Do not be afraid to ask the family what they need.

For a downloadable version (PDF) of this page, click here

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