Is Your Friend about to start treatment for Cancer?

Ideas on how to support them and why NOT to send flowers if they’re in hospital

Chemotherapy and Radiation treatments typically lower the patient's immune system. Fresh flowers carry small bugs and fungal spores and can put patients at risk of infection. This is why oncology wards typically ban deliveries of flowers.

Often when someone we know is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things we think of is to send flowers to say "we're thinking of you'" Unfortunately if flowers are sent to an oncology ward, your thoughtful gesture of flowers is often left out in the reception area away from patients.

So how can I make my friend feel cared for? Some people feel awkward and worry they'll say or do the wrong thing when someone they know has been diagnosed with cancer. Don't leave your friend or family member wondering where you are or worse, thinking that you don't care. Sending a card with a heart-felt message is a good place to start. If you're not sure what to write, there are loads of suggestions to be found - search on Google for ideas on ‘what to write to someone with cancer’

I’d like to send something to my friend - so what should I send instead of flowers?

There are many practical and pampering gifts that you can send instead of flowers. Some ideas are:

  • Good moisturising lotions or lip balms are great (natural is best). This is because chemotherapy and radiation is often drying on the skin leaving it cracked, red, and sore. Try not to send lotions that are heavily scented as this can increase nausea often associated with cancer treatments.

  • Nice soft, warm bed socks as feet can be cold during treatments.

  • Lovely new slippers for walking across cold floors or to the bathroom.

  • A tri-pillow for added comfort while in bed or sitting in a chair.

  • Special pen & journal for writing notes, reminders, or journaling.

  • Magazines.

  • Soft eye-mask to block out light and aid sleep and naps especially with bright lighting in hospital wards.

  • Soft beanies to keep head warm during treatments.

  • Soft cuddly hot-water bottle cover.

  • Comfy throw-blanket for keeping warm during chemo treatments. Lovely to use while in hospital or at home for day-time naps on the sofa.

  • Soft pjs for hospital stays.

Our list above has some good ideas for gifts you could send or take when visiting your loved one. For more ideas, and to take the stress out of choosing, wrapping and sending to the hospital or home, click on these links:

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"My friend in hospital received her cancer gift parcel today and absolutely loved it.  The nurses loved it so much they took photos of it!  Thanks so much :)"

Linda Bellinger, Shannon Horowhenua District (May 2020)

"The hamper was a gift for my sister who was delighted to receive it – she said the wheat bag is the perfect size for taking to hospital and the balm will also be most appreciated there.  She had also though about getting a journal but hadn’t gotten around to it, so was delighted with the one in the hamper.

Thanks for much for helping me give her a little surprise during what is a really tough time."

Sue Downing, Branch Manager, BNZ Invercargill

"Hi Vicki
I can't thank you enough for prioritising my order to reach my dear friend before her treatment. It was delivered Monday afternoon and her treatment starts today Tuesday afternoon, such amazing service. My friend called me upon the delivery of her hamper, she was excited & overwhelmed on the presentation of the hamper but most of all how ideal the items are for her to use during her treatment sessions. It also gave me a beautiful feeling to know that I could make her feel special and bring on some light to her day. Thank you Vicki, I will definitely be using this site again and will recommend everyone to do so :) "
Cheers, Diane Mahomed, Auckland

"Today we received a beautiful gift that my sister Clare had organised with you.

We wanted to say how beautiful the gift was, the ribbons, box, card, all so thoughtful.

We will definitely use you for gifts in future, and I’m about to post you all over Facebook in the hope that others will.

Thank you again."

Adrian & Ruth Williams, Hibiscus Coast, Auckland

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Carla Kruger, Smartscan 360, Auckland

"Thank you so much, excellent service, and my friend loved her gift :) "

Marion Gardner, NZ

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