Gifts for people with terminal cancer

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A close relative has metastatic cancer which is highly likely to be terminal - although we are not yet fully at the stage where she wants to abandon hope.

She is in her 30s, fairly glamourous, finding coming to terms with things impossible. i want to help, listen etc. I also want to give her things which will comfort. Also Xmas is coming up - the elephant in the room that we collude with ignoring is that it may well be her last.

I'm wanting ideas for gifts - things which might genuinely ease things, act as a distraction, or help her feel good. So far I've thought of audio stuff, aromatherapy, sleepwear.

Thing is, all these gifts shreik "invalid", yet it seems somehow crass to give something more "longterm" - does anyone have any thoughts re this, or ideas about what things have been good to receive when in this horrible situation?
  • FormerMember
    Hi its me and my trees again...Give her a tree or a bush...planting it with her will give her something to nurture and hopefully will help her realise the true gift of life. A fruit tree perhaps and then she may see the fruits of her labour, metaphorically speaking...After her passing as friends and family you'll have the memory of a precious life, changing with the seasons, bringing new growth from winter to spring...hope!
    If she is tres glam...citrus fruit, though not as enduring a legacy...if she raises an eyebrow smile and tell her its to help her reduce her carbon footprint.
    If that don't float your boat...plan a weekend spa break, a night at the theatre, a concert ...something she has to get glammed up for, hire a limo and live it is for living right now, not for waiting.

    please scrap the nighties, if funds don't stretch use your boots advantage card and just buy her a new lip gloss! A girl must always look her best!
  • FormerMember
    Hiya Splotchy,
    Is your close rellie on steriods or other feature altering drugs?? If not then i would suggest a makeover and photoshoot. That way you and yours will always have fantastic photos and keepsakes of the relative in question.
    Please forgive me if this is inappropriate but i suggest it as since losing my MIL i have found a voucher purchased by her for me and her gdaughter to have this same treatment/makeover as a gift after she passed away!

    Looking forward to sunday!! and if you nice i might let you see the results ;-)

  • Hi Splotchy,

    I'm sorry to hear about your relative.

    Personally, I would try to get her things she will genuinely like, and not always, as you say, choose things that will sceam: "invalid!"

    OK, there will be some gifts that will be off-limits: if she's feeling really ill, food gifts, or a subscription to the gym might be more than a little insensitive. Then again, they might not. It all depends how she's feeling, really. Don't always assume she won't like things, or can't do them, just because she's ill. My father (who is still with us, touch wood), continued regular walking and swimming for quite some time, following a "terminal" prognosis, and it's only relatively recently he's had to stop.

    Again, personally speaking, I don't think it's crass to give "long term" presents. I think it's more crass if everybody gets her things with a use-by date of next week, because they're scared she might not make it past then! I would see nothing wrong with giving a piece of jewellery, or similar keepsake. It's a token of your regard for her, which I'm sure will be just as much appreciated, whether she has weeks, months, or (let's hope!) years left to enjoy it. Symbolic gifts, which remind you someone is thinking of you, can be a source of courage and strength.

    I think some of the things you've already mentioned (audio, aromatherapy) are fine, as long as they're not completely out of keeping with her personality. If she would have liked them when she was well, the chances are she would still appreciate them now.

    If, as you say, she is quite glamorous, is she interested in clothing or cosmetics? Having cancer doesn't necessarily mean you wouldn't like a new lipstick!

    But I'm sure she'll be pleased whatever you get. She'll be delighted to know you were thinking of her.


  • FormerMember

    Hi Splotchy

    I am terminally ill and as a family we are facing the very same question as people keep asking my hubby about Christmas presents for me. And we know that, without a miracle, this will definitely be my last Christmas.

    I don't know if this helps or not but I thought I would give you my personal view of how we are responding to the question. Everyone is different though and you are in a much better place to judge how your friend will react to different presents.

    For me, I have said that I would prefer "experiences" rather than "things" this year. I would feel awkward in accepting a present which had a "long term" feel to them. But the big difference is that I am definitely terminal rather than the "highly likely to be terminal". The one exception is the idea of a tree or plant. For my 40th birthday 3 years ago, we planted several trees in our garden and I am now delighted that we did so as my two young daughters will be able to look at "mummy's trees" in the garden when I am gone. Adding to "mummy's plants" would be something I would really welcome.

    If your friend is fit enough, booking to take her out will help to take her mind off things. I know I have found it much easier to keep busy rather than sit around worrying. The only other thing I can think of is if your friend is fairly glamourous, how about booking a manicure/ facial etc for her? (You would need to check with someone that this was ok if she is receiving chemothereapy or has stopped chemo recently. I was told certain treatments were off limits.)

    I really hope that you find a present that you feel will fit the bill and all the advice on here helps. BUt as Candice says, I am sure that whatever you choose will be welcomed by your friend and she will be delighted. The most important thing is that she knows you are there for and that you really care.

    Good luck.

    WIth best wishes


  • FormerMember

    Hi Splotchy,
    What about a day at a health spa (if she is up to it) or just a couple of treatments at the local one. This will not only make her feel better but will give you some quality time together, special time for you to look back on and remember.
    My Dad is ill and several years ago we both went to Colchester Zoo to be zookeepers for the day and even though we don't know what is going to happen, it will be a day I will treasure for the rest of my life. Mum brought the day for us both for our birthday and it was the best present ever even before Dad was ill, but now it is even more special
    I hope this may have given you a couple of ideas
    Best wishes and I hope everything works out well for you both


  • FormerMember

    Hi again,

    just had a couple more thoughts, what about a balloon ride or some Yankee candles to make her room pretty and smell lovely, As a well person I would love either of these.


  • FormerMember

    Just wanted to let you know some of the things i did for my mum she has terminal cancer to. i think memories are more important that gifts. so give her things like a photo album or get your family together for a family protrait, its also an excuse for her to glam herself up for the day. we also sent my mum on a heilicopter ride all over dublin she loved that. we sent her on a train for a few nighta away with me and a few of her friends. we also did the health spa thing was so much fun! just recently we got her a limo and her and all our family got into it and drove around the city then went out for dinner together she loved it.

    well hope that helps,
    k x
  • FormerMember

    I bought this for my mother,(along with my family)

    It helped her focus on the good, not the bad. And we all had fabulous things to remember her by.