If you or a family member have gone through chemotherapy, you already know how difficult the process can be and how it’s the little things that count. But there are some items that are helpful in making the process, hopefully, a little bit easier to bear. At least that’s the goal of Tenaciously Teal, a charitable organization devoted to supplying chemo care packs to patients during their treatments. Tarah Warren came up with the idea when she went through months of chemo treatment. She founded Tenaciously Teal and today chemo care packs are distributed across Oklahoma City, as well patients across the country.
As part of Tenaciously Teal’s mission, once a month, my friends, daughter and I have been involved with distributing chemo care packs to the veterans at the local VA hospital. The care packs are the same as the ones distributed to the other hospitals in the area, with just a few additions. We make sure to put a card on the bag that says “Thank You for Your Service“. The Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team has donated Thunder stress basketballs to include in the bags for the veterans. And at other times we might add a little extra seasonal treat, such as a flag the week of July 4th, something fun close to Halloween and we’re now working on ideas for the Christmas season.
If you have a friend or loved one about to undergo chemo treatment, make them a care pack to use for their treatments. Or if you have a group that wants to help — talk to the volunteer coordinator at the cancer care units to find out about making and distributing to patients at your local hospital. There are so many people who can use a bit of cheering up and a little extra loving care.
These are standard things that we put in each bag, I’ve included the places where we found great prices, helpful when you’re putting together a few dozen at time. In many cases you will see name-brand items, that’s because we’ve found that these particular products are just much better than the off-brand. It’s usually only a few cents difference, so if you’re donating, donate the good stuff!
- soft cozy socks (Dollar Tree $1.)
- Gatorade or power drink — especially helpful on Day 2 when nausea happens.
- Chapstick — very dry lips (Sam’s Club)
- lotion bar or hand cream — preferably not too heavy a scent
- Kleenix brand pocket tissue pack (Dollar Tree 3/$1.)
- memo pad (Dollar Tree (4 for $1.)
- pen or pencil
- Word Search puzzle book — nothing too taxing mentally (Dollar Tree $1.)
- power bar (think protein) (Sam’s Club)
- Jolly Ranchers lemon drops and Peppermint Candies — aftertaste can be terrible
- small hand sanitizer (Dollar Tree 3/$1.)
Nice to add:
- personal note or card of encouragement
- soft hat for those who are losing their hair
- adult coloring book with colored pens/pencils — very popular right now
- small token fast food or gas cards, e.g. $5 for expenses are adding up
- stress ball