As cancer survivors, many of us look for ways to make a difference in the fight against cancer, but not all of us can participate in fundraising walks, runs and other physical events. However, events like the Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler are now offering the option to “be a virtual runner” and American Cancer Society Relay for Life events offer many ways for survivors to get involved.
Besides your participation in events, there are so many things that you can do to benefit the cause and community, both near and far.
Help your Local Community
- Support Others Using Your Experience
As a cancer survivor, your knowledge and experiences are invaluable to the newly-diagnosed. Consider joining, leading or creating a support group for a specific cancer. Contact UVA Cancer Center to see how you can help lead or participate in UVA’s support groups.
- Explore Your Talents
If you like being in the kitchen, consider hosting a bake sale to support UVA Cancer Center, or find out if you can cook meals for cancer center patients.
- Leverage Your Social Networks
Host an event or participate in a fundraiser for UVA Cancer Center, leveraging your network of family and friends who have been through your cancer journey with you.
- Your Wedding Gown and Accessories
Donate your gently used wedding dress, veil and slip to an organization that resells your items to raise money for research. Fairytale Brides is a nonprofit boutique affiliated with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other great organizations.
- Your Hair
Consult with your stylist on how your hair can be used to make a free wig for a cancer patient through an organization like Locks of Love. As a bonus, you are treating yourself to a snazzy new hairdo.
- Your Car
You can help save the life of a cancer patient by providing a ride to and from treatment, or you can donate your car to charity. The American Lung Association has a vehicle donation program.
- Your Frequent Flyer Miles
Some patients travel out-of-state for treatment. By donating your unused miles, you can help ease their financial burden and help them get needed treatments. The American Cancer Society has an air miles program with Delta, United and Frontier Airlines.
- Your Creativity
If you like to knit or crochet, make a hat or shawl to donate. UVA Cancer Center has a Comfort Shawl group that meets throughout the year. Make quilts for patients, or make jewelry to raise money for research.
- Your Blood, Bone Marrow and Organs
If you have been cancer-free for at least a year, you may be able to donate your blood and bone marrow, and become an organ donor. Contact Virginia Blood Services for more information.
Help an Organization
- Honor Someone With a Donation
By making a donation to UVA Health Foundation, you can honor someone special who helped you on your cancer journey. It could be a caregiver, friend, fellow patient or medical provider. You can also create a giving page in their honor.
- Participate in a Clinical Trial
By volunteering your time to a research study or clinical trial, you can help patients, the medical community and possibly yourself. When I finished treatment, I joined a study to see if certain diets and types of exercise would improve my quality of life. Talk to your medical provider about your options for participating in trials as a cancer survivor.
- Other Ways You Can Help
There are always volunteer opportunities and other ways to help. Complete this form to see how you can help UVA Cancer Center.
Some cancer survivors choose to give back because they felt alone during treatment and don’t want others to have that experience. Others do it out of gratitude. Your actions, not your motivations, benefit the cancer community.