Cancer Survivor Designs The Honest Empathy Cards She Wishes She Had Received From Friends And Family

May 7, 2015

Most of us struggle to find the right words in the face of a friend or loved one's major health crisis, whether it's cancer, chronic illness, mental illness, or anything else. It's a really tough problem; someone we love needs our support more than ever, but we don't have the right language for it.

Emily McDowell  was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 24, enduring nine months of chemo and radiation before going into remission.

The 38-year-old designer has been cancer-free ever since. But the emotional impact of the experience lingered, inspiring her to design a newly  launched  series of Empathy Cards — emotionally direct greeting cards that say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill.

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

"The most difficult part of my illness wasn't losing my hair, or being erroneously called 'sir' by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo. It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn't know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it."

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

empathy cards for serious illness
Credit: Emily McDowell

"It's not often that you look at a greeting card and think, 'The world needs this,' but in this case, I really believe that's true."

(H/T) Slate. Visit Emily McDowell's website to learn more and to purchase these empathy cards.

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