For most of us we see the plights of others in the mainstream media and sometimes (or often depending on who you are) it tugs our heart strings. Often though we either think that there is nothing we can do because we cannot afford to spend money donating to charity, or just as often if not more so, distrust of the efficacy of non-profit organizations makes people reticent about giving their money. Both of those thoughts are understandable, but it’s important to note that there are other ways to help.
One person may not be able to change the face of cancer, but you can change the attitude of one person. I was inspired to write this article when I was emailed a YouTube video of a young boy, a leukemia patient, according to the description who received a phone call and gifts from Christian Bale. It was really heartwarming and clearly a great many people agree. I remember thinking: Why doesn’t the average person do something like this more often. That isn’t to say that people don’t, but I think that people underestimate the power of the kindness of strangers. One doesn’t have to be a celebrity with a lot of disposable income to make that difference.
I am fortunate to be a person who has the opportunity every day to demonstrate kindness and care for the sick and the less fortunate daily. As an epidemiologist that is part of what I do. Most people make their living in other ways and have to take time to help others when they can. This doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be simple. Maybe buy some flowers and bring them to a local hospital with a get well card and leave it for the nurses to deliver to a cancer patient in chemo, or a patient going through dialysis. Even take a couple of hours to go to a local children’s ward and volunteer to read a book to take their minds off of their illness. The same could be done in a nurse care facility.
There is always something that you can find to make a difference in your community and one of the best resources for finding a way that you can help is to call your local health department and see what resources are available.