Words of Comfort When Words Fail You
Words of Comfort When Words Fail You

Words of Comfort When Words Fail You

Words of Comfort When Words Fail You

CancerCare Cards Harvest Blessings from Devastating Disease

If a friend is down with the flu or has a stay in the hospital, you stop by the card shop or the grocery and pick up a card that says Thinking of you or makes cute little jokes about doctors and hospital gowns that open in the back. But suppose your best girlfriend or your sister or your mother receives the news: Breast cancer. Mastectomy. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Get well soon suddenly seems woefully inadequate.

This was Marilyn Shoemakers experience. Having never had a mammogram at the age of 43, she discovered a lump in her breast getting ready for bed on a Friday night. After spending a tense weekend telling herself it was probably nothing, Marilyn went quickly the following week from mammogram to sonogram to lumpectomy to dual mastectomy and directly into a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation, because the cancer had already spread into her lymph system.

If Marilyn was herself reeling from her sudden plunge into the odyssey of the cancer patient, those around her were little better at responding to her pain and fear. What does one say, after all, to a woman who has just lost both breasts? Who has lost all of her hair to her cancer treatment? What do you say to someone who may, in fact, be dying? Many, in their discomfort, simply avoid contact at all, depriving the patient of comfort when it is needed most. Marilyns friends, family, and fellow church members reached out to her in love and concern, but often needed as much comfort as she did in their grief over her condition.

One special group of Marilyns friends, The Birthday Girlfriends, was able to offer solace without fear or hesitation. Over the next five years, through three remissions and three recurrences (Marilyn is currently receiving treatment for the fourth time), this beloved group of friends has consistently given her support and encouragement with personally written cards and notes. To this day, Marilyn receives several cards a week from these caring women.

Throughout her ordeal, Marilyns faith in God remained strong. I knew that no matter what was happening to me, God was in control, she says through misty eyes. And I knew that He could make something good come from even this.

"Something good" is CancerCare Cards, a line of greeting cards designed specifically for cancer patients. Intended to help friends and relatives of those with cancer to find words of support at a time when it is often most awkward and painful to do so, CancerCare Cards bring messages of comfort, hope and survival; they are celebrations of life and friendship.

Its only when it happens to you, and you start looking, that you realize there is really nothing out there like this, Marilyn explains. That's when I got the inspiration to start designing cards for cancer patients cards that I would like to have received! Cards like the Birthday Girlfriends made for me.

CancerCare Cards got off to a moderately slow start, but caught on quickly. Marilyn has CancerCare Cards in card shops, hospital gift shops and book stores all over the United States. Her cards can also be purchased at her website,




Melissa Leedom holds degrees in English and Professional Writing from Troy State University at Dothan, Alabama, and Towson University in Maryland. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the San Gabriel Writers League. A part-time developmental math instructor at Central Texas College in Killeen, she makes her home in the suburban Austin area.

In addition to promoting her own novel, To Forgive, Divine, and working on its sequel, Ms. Leedom provides a comprehensive marketing service that can send your press release to specifically targeted states or to newspapers throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and English-language publications throughout the world. Visit www.forgive490.com/marketingservices to view the clients whose books and products she has helped to market and read the press releases she has written for them. For more information, please write to Melissa at prpersonforbooks@yahoo.com.