Cancer Survivor Creates Witty, Brutally Honest Cards She Wishes She Had Received

By now, pretty much everyone knows someone who has had cancer. 

That’s the brutal reality.

Another sad reality is that people often distance themselves from their cancer-fighting friends simply because they don’t know what to say. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, you know there’s a fine line to navigate between sympathy and over-the-top pity, and you’re not sure they even want to see or hear from you in the first place. 

Most of us have been there. 

That’s why a cancer survivor has designed the empathy cards she wishes she had received from friends and family – and they’re pretty brilliant.
Doing the talking for you, they break the ice with text like “I’m really sorry I haven’t been in touch. I didn’t know what to say;” “One chemo down! Let’s celebrate with whatever doesn’t taste disgusting,” and “Please let me be the first to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason.”

So yeah, they’re not what you’d typically find in the card aisle of your drug store. But a “Get Well Soon” card is pretty stupid if the person is clearly not going to get well.

The cards are the brainchild of LA-based designer Emily McDowell, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 24, and endured nine months of chemo and radiation before going into remission. The now 38-year-old has been cancer-free ever since.
Despite her success in kicking cancer’s ass, the emotional impact of the ordeal lingered, inspiring her to create the cards.

“The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo,” McDowell writes on her website. “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.” 

We’d say go ahead and order some for yourself, but we really hope you don’t ever have to use them.
All images courtesy of 


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