How to support family dealing with cancer, non-sartorially
July 1, 2014 10:16 AM Subscribe
My cousin's kid was born with cancer. A friend of theirs started a website where one can buy a t-shirt to show support for the family. This seems a little odd. Should I buy a t-shirt or do something differently to show love and support for the family?
Several weeks ago, my cousin's wife gave birth to their third kid, a baby girl. Unfortunately, the baby has a tumor and needs chemo. It's treatable but obviously very scary. The two older kids are staying with my aunt and uncle so the parents can focus on the baby.
Now, my aunt and uncle have done well financially. My uncle is retired, they travel, etc. My cousin and his wife seem like they are doing fine - they own their home, have good jobs at a university, they probably have great insurance, time off policies, FMLA, etc. So I was a little surprised when I saw that one of their friends had started a website where one can buy a t-shirt and donate to show your support for the family.
So far, they have sold more than 300 t-shirts and have raised nearly $9,000. It says at the top of the website that the money will go to support children with cancer but then it says near the bottom that all of the money will go to my cousin to take care of the baby. I realize that there are all sorts of terrible expenses that could come up while dealing with a mom healing from a C-section and a baby who is being treated for cancer and my father, siblings, and I obviously love and support them and want everyone to be happy and healthy, but this kind of rubs us the wrong way.
Part of me says, it's not about the t-shirt, it's about showing love and support. Is there a way to do that besides buying a t-shirt or donating money? I thought it would be nice to buy them delivery food or something but doing stuff for their family can be easier said than done. A few years ago, my husband and I visited them at their vacation place where they were unbelievably hospitable to us and they looked at me like I was insane when I tried to pay for the pizza one night.
While I want to show love and support, part of me says that God willing, the baby is going to be with us for a long time so I have 18+ years of showing love and support. I thought of buying books for the children but then I worry the kids will be like, this is the book we got when our baby sister had cancer. Should I just send the parents a card? Maybe include a gift certificate for a nearby ice cream place so they can take the little guys? Is there any stuff I could send them that would be helpful? Should I ask my aunt if they need anything or if there's anything we can do to help?
What is the gracious thing to do? I thought about sending a card and making them some cookies. Every thing I think of doing or sending just feels so weird. Like, sorry your baby has cancer, hope you like chocolate chip. Part of me is just worried that years from now, there's going to be a weird rift with that part of the family, like, they couldn't even be bothered to buy a t-shirt when baby had cancer. I thought of buying a t-shirt for each of my siblings and their significant others and giving them as gifts on Christmas. That would be eight shirts for $160 - steep but doable (plus I'd be starting my Christmas shopping early for once!).
- Should I buy a t-shirt? One for me and another for my husband? One for everyone in my immediate family?
- If not (or even if so), what is the best way to show love and support for the family?