As I get back into the groove (such as it is) of the chemo/side-effects/recovery cycle, some amazing friends of mine have set up a kind of online volunteer community for me on this website. It’s a user-friendly place where people can sign up to help out with things like lifts to and from hospital, or making meals for the freezer. The site is really well thought-out; for example when you put something like a hospital pick-up date on the calendar, notes immediately pop up, including time, location, link to a map and other details.
And it was fairly easy to set up – or so says the superstar friend who coordinates it from her home in a small town North of the city. (It’s one of the many ways she has found to not let geography get in her way of getting in my cancer’s face.) She sent out an e-mail to a list of friends and family inviting them to join, et voila — a little army of volunteers was assembled, and they make my life easier and my cancer more manageable, one little favour at a time.
It’s been so helpful, not to mention pretty humbling and moving to see people checking in and signing up to help. When you lose so much control over your life – when it sometimes feels like you’re losing the shape of life as you knew it completely – it can be really hard to ask for and accept help, because that can feel like an acknowledgement of the loss of control. But as far as I can tell, learning to accept help takes more courage than pretending you don’t need it. Needing help and not asking for it is the path to curmudgeonhood. Whereas when you accept help, it’s the equivalent of thanking someone for their friendship. At least that’s how I see it, and it’s my blog so I get to say it like it’s the law.
This website is one way to make it both easier to ask and more practical to volunteer for help in a time of need. Check it out: http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com