When I first heard about Don’t Buy Her Flowers I fell in love with the idea! Gift packages designed for new mums as an alternative to flowers. Since then DBHF has expanded to include gifts for lots of other occasions.

The most recent addition is one close to my heart. The stand up to cancer care package.

I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer in march 2016 at the age of 36. I underwent a double mastectomy, reconstruction, 6 rounds of chemo and a preventative oopherectomy. Chemo was tough but I had great support around me and family and friends who wanted to help. It was definitely a life changing experience but one I think changed me for the better. Although if you’d try to tell me that at the time it would not have been well received! It was shit at the time and we needed to say so.

When I was first diagnosed lots of people asked me what I needed. What I wanted. And to be honest I didn’t know! I was lucky to have intuitive friends around me who bought really appropriate and effective gifts (sweets, magazines, empowering cards etc)

 The DBHF Stand up to cancer packages will be perfect for people who know someone who has been diagnosed but don’t know what to get. So when steph asked me for my opinion on what could go in care packages for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, caring for people with cancer or going through treatment I knew exactly what to say!

My dream list of things for my package was:
Water wipes – during chemo getting up to shower was sometimes a challenge too far! But with the night sweats and hot flushes things could get pretty gross. Having wipes on hand was a great way to freshen myself up without having to leave the bed! Sometimes just a quick wipe over the face could feel like a full spa treatment!

Ice pops – these were an absolute staple. For the few days after each round of chemo I was quite sick. The thought of food would turn my stomach but ice pops were so refreshing!

Skinny prosecco – I don’t care what’s happening in my life, it’s always a good time for prosecco!

Yes mum cards – because tiny fist bumps are a great way to lift your spirits!

Water bottle – my bed and sofa became my base for almost 6 months and staying hydrated was crucial. But drinking from a normal water bottle would often result in me pouring water all over my face and then having to just lie in it because I was too exhausted to move. After one too many near drowning incidents I discovered the beauty of a sports bottle!

Women’s magazine – I may be cut off from the world but I still need to know which footballer is having an affair with which reality TV star and 10 ways to find my dream man!

Obviously my experience is mine alone and others may have different experiences. So the packages are bespoke and you can add all sorts of bits and pieces.

This is what Steph had to say:

“The Stand Up To Cancer Care Package is our first fully bespoke, build-your-own package with over forty products to choose from. We worked with four amazing women, each with a different experience but a common thread – cancer has invaded their lives. Deborah, Emma, Helen and Elizabeth each provided insights about what products have helped them or what they wish they’d received. It’s another occasion when a bouquet is a bit of a go-to – the people around them wanted to help but often didn’t know how, they all talked about being surrounded by well-meaning blooms, and as Helen said ‘When it comes to cancer, flowers just aren’t going to cut it’.

5% of the retail price of every package sold will be donated to support Stand Up To Cancer’s ground breaking research. In the summer, I went on a tour with Cancer Research of the labs at Imperial College, and the treatments and techniques they’re developing are mind-blowing. I personally found it heartening to see these groups of very clever people (frankly, I’ve never felt more stupid) dedicated to finding answers to something that affects so many of us. It was also sobering as some of our group have or have had Cancer. Their lives are literally dependant on these mind-blowing treatments and they can’t be developed soon enough.”

I’ve been lucky that my treatment has been so amazing and I’m able to reflect on my experience rather than still be suffering but that wouldn’t be the case without all the research that’s gone into cancer over the years. Its such an honour to be able to contribute in any tiny way to stand up to cancer.

I was thrilled to get one of my own boxes in the post and even now I’m “healthy” I still love everything in it!

Thank you Steph!

Find out more about Stand up to Cancer

Visit Don’t Buy Her Flowers