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Patients Against Lymphoma


Support > "Buddies" Programs | How to Help a Friend

Peer to Peer Support

Last update: 04/16/2010

How to Help a friend in Need? | PEER-to-PEER Resources

A Friend in Need 

Dr. Jessie Gruman, Ph.D., president of the Center for the Advancement of Health in Washington, D.C, gives the following advice in response to the following question in the April 2007 edition of Consumer Reports on Health:

What's the best thing to do if friends gets terrible medical news?


Touch base and let your friend know you are thinking of them.


Let your friend know you are their to help if you can, and that you can be called on - 
but not in a way that creates an obligation for your friend to respond.  
Respect that your friend will be preoccupied with dealing with the illness. 

Your goal is to "support the dignity, autonomy, and privacy of your friends."

What should you NOT say?


Avoid saying that you're sure that everything will be okay,
which may be taken as minimizing the seriousness of their problem.


Avoid saying "That it's a blessing in disguise", even if it may turn out that way. 


Avoid telling stories about people with similar diseases who are now dead,
which can discourage and frighten your friend.


What about practical things?


Yes, and make concrete offers, such as:

I'd like to bring you dinner next week.  
What day would be good for you?


Designate a family member as a gatekeeper, so you don't have to ask your friend 
directly while he or she is in distress.


Don't offer to help if you can't follow through.


PEER-to-PEER Resources

Lymphoma Research Foundation:
The Lymphoma Support Network

"(LSN) is a one to one peer support program that matches lymphoma patients (or caregivers) with volunteers who have faced a similar type of lymphoma, treatment or challenge. The Coordinator matches participants using a nationwide database of volunteers.  Whether newly diagnosed, in treatment, or in remission, people network to share lymphoma related experiences and support." ~ LRF

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
First Connection (Peer-to-Peer) Program 

We know what you are going through. Talk to us. 

Recognizing the needs of families in the initial phases of diagnosis, the First Connection program brings patients and their caregivers the opportunity to share experiences with someone who has "been through it," and obtain valuable information on Society and community resources available to support them. This unique match gives the new patient or caregiver valuable insight from someone who also has experienced a blood cancer. Patient and volunteers are matched by age, diagnosis and gender when possible. 

Peers are trained in basic counseling skills and are armed with local resource materials so that patients and their caregivers need not feel isolated as they begin the process of treatment. Anyone with leukemia or related cancers is eligible to receive a call or visit. There is no charge for this program. 

Gilda's Club, Inc.
322 8th Avenue, Suite 1402
New York, NY 10001
(917) 305-1200
(888) GILDA-4-U (445-3248)
Email: info@gildasclub.org
Website: www.gildasclub.org

Also see Online Support Groups



Disclaimer:  The information on Lymphomation.org is not intended to be a substitute for 
professional medical advice or to replace your relationship with a physician.
For all medical concerns,  you should always consult your doctor. 
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