why we started making greeting cards
it started with cards for people undergoing treatment to send and receive
Some people undergoing treatment for cancer and their immediate families are overwhelmed by phone calls from well-meaning friends and relatives inquiring as to their physical and emotional well-being. Other people feel isolated by not knowing how to communicate their appreciation to those who have inquired about them or who dropped off food or sent presents. Speaking on the phone can be quite taxing, and repeating details of treatment to multiple callers is not necessarily a positive experience for someone who may need to conserve energy for day-to-day living.
After my diagnosis, my family quickly realized that we did not have the energy to repeat the latest news of my treatment to everyone who called, even though we truly appreciated their concern. In addition, we found that we wanted to reassure everyone who called that not only was I going to be okay, that the caller would also be okay. People are so frightened by the fear of getting cancer that they need a lot of reassurance when they encounter the diagnosis of cancer in someone within their circle of family and friends.
The reality that cancer can hit anyone, at any time, is terrifying. The person newly diagnosed with cancer and that person’s family are not able to spend time on the phone with each person who wants to reach out to the family with the best of intentions. Time and energy is better spent taking a walk, making a meal together, or any other enjoyable activity. That does not mean that people undergoing treatment do not appreciate hearing from friends and acquaintances. My family kept a list of people who called and we tried to call people back when we could.
When I was first recovering from my initial surgery, I made and sent out a card that featured 2 pink cupcakes topped with cherries. One of the cupcakes had a Band-Aid on it. Inside the card I had printed, “I’m on the mend” and then I hand wrote a personal note. On the back of the card I had printed special thanks to my surgeon and other medical professionals who helped me. When I was almost finished treatment, I sent out a card with a picture of a “Chia”-type pet head on the front of the card. On the inside I wrote, “The chemo’s done, the hair’s begun.”
Sending these cards was my way of keeping in touch so that people heard from me even when I was not able to return their calls or see them. People appreciated that I had not lost my sense of humor and I believe that they approached me more openly when they did see me because they knew that I was comfortable with myself. Many people asked me where I purchased the cards because they wanted to buy them for someone they knew. Since I made the cards myself, the cards were not available commercially. I decided to make cards for other people and that endeavor was one of the forces behind the foundation of the Fuschia Foundation.
The Fuchsia Foundation offers cards to people undergoing treatment to send out to help them communicate with their friends and relatives. Initially it seems strange to be marketing cards to cancer patients. There’s nothing funny about cancer, but keeping a sense of humor and an appreciation of irony is essential to getting through treatment and doing the thing that people with cancer most want to do: live.
Rather than putting a light pink ribbon on a sad card, we make bold cards that made us and others smile. We developed a line of cards for people undergoing treatment and other survivors to send to their immediate and wider circles of family members and friends to communicate their appreciation of support. We have printed and distributed cards to many people undergoing treatment who cannot afford to purchase cards and for whom communication with their friends and family members is all the more important.
In addition to selling “Thanks a Bunch” cards to everyone who has someone to thank, we donate packets of these cards to people undergoing treatment for cancer to send to express their appreciation for the love and support of their loved ones and friends. We distribute them to several hospitals and cancer treatment centers in Baltimore, and in time and with greater financial resources, we plan to print a large quantity of the cards and distribute them throughout the region, and eventually across the country, to help cancer survivors thank the people who have made a difference to them during the challenges of their treatment. By providing these cards at no cost to people undergoing cancer treatment, we are helping facilitate communication for people who do not have the energy or possibly the financial resources to shop for and purchase their own cards. For these people, communication with their friends and family members is all the more important.
Your contribution to the Fuchsia Foundation enables us to pay for production, printing and distribution of these cards for people undergoing cancer treatment and cancer survivors to send.