5 Fun Things To Do If You Have Cancer: #1 FREE STUFF
April 27, 2014
In the vlog, I am at the beginning of my cancer journey. In real time, I am coming out of what has been by far the least fun part of my journey. I think the best time to seek out fun is when life sucks. So, to that end, I’ve come up with five fun things to do if you have cancer (or even if you don’t).
Fun Thing #1:
Scoring free stuff is one of the few perks that comes along with having breast cancer. Now you might ask,
“Jacey, what kind of free stuff are we talking about? I don’t need another free tote bag, you know what I mean?”
I do. As a breast cancer patient, you can get free wigs, compression sleeves, and mastectomy camisoles. Woo hoo!
“Um. That doesn’t sound fun. You promised this would be fun.”
I did. You can also get free make-up, care packages, fitness classes, and even vacations! Bam! In fact, recently, I found a whole delightful website called Breast Cancer Freebies, that lists different organizations that give away free things to BC Patients. I have first hand experience with a couple:
This workshop gives you make-up tips (I got help filling in my thinning eyebrows), and a lot of free make-up products from brands like Estee Lauder, Lancome and Cover Girl.
The best part wasn’t actually the free stuff (although I am continuing to enjoy that element), but connecting with other women who have cancer and witnessing the power clothes, make-up and wigs have to transform sick, defeated cancer patients into beautiful empowered women.
Workshops happen nationwide (in NYC there are several every month) and are supported by the amazing American Cancer Society.
This organization is not listed at Breast Cancer Freebies. I found it through one of the navigators at my hospital. My boyfriend emailed them a request for a care package and they sent me this lovely hot pink box:
It included a ton of FUN free swag (jewelry, make-up, clothes), most notably a mini pair of pink boxing gloves. The story of the gloves comes from the founder (a breast cancer survivor), who received mini pink boxing gloves from another survivor when she was first diagnosed. Her original pair has been passed through five survivors.
I brought my boxing gloves with me for my surgery and they were at my bedside the whole time. All the nurses commented on them, and as I love to be the center of attention, I appreciated this freebie most of all.
Gilda’s Club offers a variety of free classes and workshops. I am a member, but have only been twice. However, their classes look awesome. They offer yoga, reiki, art classes, movie nights and more. Many classes are available to patients, caregivers, and their families. There are locations nationwide and membership is free. Even though I’ve not been much, I have many friends who have benefitted from their services and I like knowing that this organization and their resources are open to me.
Here are a couple of highlights from Breast Cancer Freebies that I think look awesome, but haven’t experienced first hand:
This company gives free week-long beach retreats to breast cancer patients and their families. You have to get yourself to the beach (locations range from California to The Virgin Islands), but once you’re there housing, meals, and activities (kayaking, hang gliding, concerts, massages, and more) are free.
I applied for a retreat several weeks ago, and am waiting for a response—I have no idea how competitive it is. I know that applications are given priority based on where in treatment you are (top priority is given to patients in active treatment, and you can apply at any time up until a year after your treatment ends). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I hear from them soon. Boyfriend and I could totally use a week at the beach.
I heard about this organization way back before I had cancer and even volunteered to be a Chemo Angel (someone who sends small gifts and letters to a cancer patient going through chemo), but never heard back… not the best sign. However, since I volunteered the website has had an upgrade, so hopefully they’re a little more organized now.
Cancer patients undergoing chemo can sign up for this service and receive small gifts and letters from someone through the duration of treatment. I wish I had applied for their services when I started chemo. It feels good to know that someone beyond your support team is pulling for you, and it’s nice to get nice things in the mail (especially when you’re not even expected to follow-up with a thank you note).
“Wait! Jacey! You said these were fun things to do whether or not I had cancer. All of these freebies are for cancer patients only! What am I supposed to do? Lie about having cancer?”
Ummmm….No. Obviously not. Your kharma will be ruined and you’ll be re-incarnated as a cockroach… a cockroach with cancer. BUT fear not! There are many freebies for non-cancer ridden persons. Here are a couple free things I’ve enjoyed that have not required me to be full of cancer.
I had a renewed interest in yoga when I was first diagnosed with cancer, and luckily free
yoga is something that can be found in many places with or without a cancer diagnosis. Here in NYC, Yoga to the People has a full schedule of donation based (free) classes, and there are many other studios that offer similar classes within their schedules. If you live in a city, a quick Google search will likely lead you to free yoga.
(Psst—if you have cancer, visit YogaBear.org for free yoga videos geared specifically to you AND links to classes in your area).
A blog I really enjoy is NYC Daily Deals. Each day they highlight a “deal” in NYC, most of which are freebie alerts. Through following this blog I’ve found lots of fun free things (Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, free movie screenings, and more). Finding a blog in your area like this that’s good and not too spammy may take some digging, but I’m confident they’re out there, and the rewards are worth it. I mean, discovering NYC ‘s Free Macaroon Week while I was in the middle of chemo was a major win for me.
So go! Be free! Get free things! (And come back for Fun Thing #2 tomorrow!)