Long-Distance Help
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“Long-Distance Help,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 72–73

Long-Distance Help

In the last few years we have seen several family members fall ill with cancer. Because I live so far away, I’ve often wondered how our family could help, and over time I have found a number of ways to offer caring support.

• Organize a family fast.

• Place the names of the sick on a temple prayer roll.

• Don’t forget to pray. There is power in prayer, and the distance between you and the sick family member no longer matters when you seek help from Heavenly Father.

• Remember family members who are not ill by phoning or writing. They also need to feel love and support during difficult times.

• Enclose a prepaid phone card inside a cheerful greeting card or letter. Often family members are anxious for news, and a phone card helps lift the burden of long-distance phone bills.

• Send funny cards or books. Laughter is a wonderful healer.

• Learn about the illness. This will help you understand the struggles and obstacles loved ones are facing.

• If your friends or relatives must travel regularly to a doctor or hospital, treat them to a special day by sending money or gift certificates for a tank of gas or lunch out.

• Send a pocket-sized notebook. They can jot down questions about their illness and take it to doctor appointments.

• Paper plates also make a good gift. This can often help keep kitchen clutter to a minimum.

• If hair loss is involved, send a new hat or turban. Even those who choose to wear a wig sometimes need an alternative.

• Prepare a “celebration box” for milestones such as the end of chemotherapy or radiation treatments, physical therapy, or a hospital stay. Include fun things such as balloons, confetti, noise makers, or other items to applaud their progress.

Even though we are often far away from those we love during times of trial, we can still find ways to help them know we love and care about them.—Pam McEwen, Denver, Colorado