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Sat May 9, 2015, 03:38 PM May 2015

A Cancer Survivor Designs the Cards She Wishes She’d Received From Friends and Family [View all]

Los Angeles–based designer 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 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.”

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.


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+1 pinto May 2015 #1
related topic- reddit recent super long thread - stuff disabled people don't want to hear or Liberal_in_LA May 2015 #7
Oh hell yes. Thank you. REP May 2015 #133
I LOVE those. I want to know where I can get a box full to have on hand. Hekate May 2015 #2
more at the link Liberal_in_LA May 2015 #4
Splendid! Fairgo May 2015 #59
Those are just beautiful! I hope she sells a million of them. CaliforniaPeggy May 2015 #3
yeah. makes you think. Liberal_in_LA May 2015 #5
Excellent! Here's links to her blog, link to buy on each card. uppityperson May 2015 #6
And don't forget, "God has a plan !" Hoppy May 2015 #8
I'm sure s/h/it does. I hope the plan is to send those stupid MF to the landfill of the universe. erronis May 2015 #10
"s/h/it" ablamj May 2015 #24
No s/h/it. Iggo May 2015 #114
A bible thumper actually asked me what I had done to "deserve" my cancer. Contrary1 May 2015 #17
Same thing happened to me when I had cancer. leftofcool May 2015 #37
Ooooohhhh...please, please, please, please... ChisolmTrailDem May 2015 #115
Oh yes pleeeeeeeease! nt SusanCalvin May 2015 #132
... Enthusiast May 2015 #52
that's just fucking horrible steve2470 May 2015 #64
The problem is that F4lconF16 May 2015 #66
Or we are a toy SusanCalvin May 2015 #71
Oh my goddess, that's hilarious. F4lconF16 May 2015 #72
Most of them try to fudge over it all -- "God has his mysterious ways," "It's not for us to know," Arugula Latte May 2015 #109
You nailed it, F4lcon hifiguy May 2015 #118
And I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to that. F4lconF16 May 2015 #124
That's so selfish, because the reason they say that treestar May 2015 #74
Fear is a powerful thing. DeadLetterOffice May 2015 #125
Give them back the Bible with pickaxe and spade: Ecclesiastes 9:11 . . . Journeyman May 2015 #122
Those are much more appropriate malaise May 2015 #9
Well guess what people???? onecent May 2015 #11
Well, you call them and ask if there is anything they need... Contrary1 May 2015 #12
+1. I emptied litter boxes, washed dishes, and went wig-shopping. winter is coming May 2015 #14
+1 F4lconF16 May 2015 #16
You think I am not an "us"?????? This post was about NOT receiving the kind onecent May 2015 #21
You were the one who typed "I, too, wouldn't KNOW WHAT TO SAY??????" Contrary1 May 2015 #30
think this poster Duppers May 2015 #62
I have found it useful to say how can I help you? kairos12 May 2015 #106
Ew. F4lconF16 May 2015 #13
^^^^This^^^^!!!! haikugal May 2015 #19
+1 PassingFair May 2015 #27
...and I can back that up with anecdotes. ScreamingMeemie May 2015 #126
Holy shit. Orrex May 2015 #108
Bravo! hifiguy May 2015 #119
You are my new hero. Curmudgeoness May 2015 #121
It's not about you, okay? She didn't want or need to be told about someone else dying of cancer... Hekate May 2015 #32
Really. You think that my Dad, dead from cancer, at the age of 38 happened for a reason... Luminous Animal May 2015 #33
"Everything happens for a reason" is the one that made me want to punch people in the face. polly7 May 2015 #35
But then there are other people who might be comforted by it. treestar May 2015 #76
Well I have a huge family and many friends - I've never heard one of them say they were polly7 May 2015 #77
One of my cousin's wives died of ovarian cancer treestar May 2015 #79
I've lost many people very, very close to me. Not one believed they were dying for a reason. polly7 May 2015 #83
Then the erstwhile comforter should tailor his or her remarks to the recipient's feelings Orrex May 2015 #110
Truly... and this is just me who found out I hated hugs and hated platitudes at my husband's ScreamingMeemie May 2015 #127
Sometimes you don't need to say anything Ms. Yertle May 2015 #36
Wow, you think you can tell her what the fuck she should be happy with?? Disgusting. nt Logical May 2015 #49
Usually, you don't have to say anything...just be there Fairgo May 2015 #60
Cancer ridden or starving children suffer Duppers May 2015 #61
How about not touching me like you're afraid of catching my cancer? How about talking to me.... marble falls May 2015 #68
Yes there does seem a certain irony in treestar May 2015 #73
See post 65. F4lconF16 May 2015 #81
those are excellent! BlancheSplanchnik May 2015 #15
brilliant! secondwind May 2015 #18
Well, guess what? Manifestor_of_Light May 2015 #20
As if, Ms. Yertle May 2015 #38
"that sucks" actually works fine JI7 May 2015 #41
Don't know that Ms. Yertle May 2015 #44
If someone told me that, I'd tell them to fuck off. F4lconF16 May 2015 #46
Yep. Don't shove beliefs. SusanCalvin May 2015 #53
I've given up on being patient with that type of thing. F4lconF16 May 2015 #65
"Religious privilege" SusanCalvin May 2015 #69
Idk if you've checked it out F4lconF16 May 2015 #70
Thanks SusanCalvin May 2015 #75
Bahaha ain't that the truth. F4lconF16 May 2015 #80
You too. SusanCalvin May 2015 #86
You'd take offense at that? treestar May 2015 #82
No, not offense. F4lconF16 May 2015 #85
That sucks SusanCalvin May 2015 #57
It's my 'go to' response. DeadLetterOffice May 2015 #128
Sounds great to me! SusanCalvin May 2015 #131
I'd tell you to fuck off if you did. HERVEPA May 2015 #78
People who are really dying don't seem in general to be that hostile treestar May 2015 #84
I have heard that myself... F4lconF16 May 2015 #88
Why not? treestar May 2015 #90
You should say something like my thoughts will be with you HERVEPA May 2015 #93
I'm not all that terribly religious and don't talk about it treestar May 2015 #95
I'm a volunteer escort at Planned Parenthood HERVEPA May 2015 #99
Really. SusanCalvin May 2015 #102
I don't lie to people to make them feel better. F4lconF16 May 2015 #100
Yep. SusanCalvin May 2015 #104
I do have cancer SusanCalvin May 2015 #97
Of course it's not Ms. Yertle May 2015 #87
Wow. polly7 May 2015 #89
But some of these posters seem to take comments like treestar May 2015 #91
People who are dying or struggling with the tragic loss of a loved one polly7 May 2015 #96
It's not spreading my religious beliefs Ms. Yertle May 2015 #94
Yuck. nt. polly7 May 2015 #98
You'd like me gone from this world. F4lconF16 May 2015 #101
Pay no mind to the frauds. nt. polly7 May 2015 #103
I can think of someone else the world would be better without HERVEPA May 2015 #105
That's the religion of GOD! If you don't think the right way and BELIEVE!, then the ChisolmTrailDem May 2015 #117
You know that's not what I said, Ms. Yertle May 2015 #120
You know, if the world was without religious people who... ChisolmTrailDem May 2015 #130
Just for the record SusanCalvin May 2015 #134
Yep. SusanCalvin May 2015 #54
So instead of "everything happens for a reason" try "everything is random, tough luck" KittyWampus May 2015 #51
Well, the thing with the comments you give as examples SusanCalvin May 2015 #55
So maybe tone of voice and intent is what really matters most? KittyWampus May 2015 #56
Exactly SusanCalvin May 2015 #58
Religionists are fond of meaningless platitudes about "the higher purpose" of the universe Orrex May 2015 #107
Oh does that ring a bell with me. SusanCalvin May 2015 #135
Excellent. Those cards make sense. nt valerief May 2015 #22
As a survivor (so far), I would have loved one of those cards. Solly Mack May 2015 #23
Me too! Mostly, my experiences with my friends and family were positive when I was diagnosed. Luminous Animal May 2015 #34
I got a lot of people not knowing what to say. Solly Mack May 2015 #39
My gosh I must be lucky. SusanCalvin May 2015 #25
That was my reaction, too. Jim Lane May 2015 #136
Judging from the posts here SusanCalvin May 2015 #137
My favorite one... CrawlingChaos May 2015 #26
Thanks for reminding me about those books. SusanCalvin May 2015 #28
This one speaks to me ... 1StrongBlackMan May 2015 #29
My fave is the PUNCH one. I can't believe people think God wants kids to get cancer. SunSeeker May 2015 #31
i hate "everything happens for a reason" in just about any situation JI7 May 2015 #40
The one I hated the most came from my republican, catholic boss who said" At least you had her for monmouth4 May 2015 #42
Wow. Rex May 2015 #43
When I see stories of solidarity and people rallying to one person, I have to think they are lucky AZ Progressive May 2015 #45
No, I think you're right. nt F4lconF16 May 2015 #47
These are excellent and needed, thanks for posting ... slipslidingaway May 2015 #48
These are so spot on. Wish I'd had some for my younger brother... FailureToCommunicate May 2015 #50
Bravo!! Duppers May 2015 #63
I'll punch whoever tells you it's because of your own life choices IronLionZion May 2015 #67
Thanks for posting this. russspeakeasy May 2015 #92
How wonderful. SheilaT May 2015 #111
I'd like this one: "When you pray for me, ask your sociopathic asshole of a god Arugula Latte May 2015 #112
There ya go. nt SusanCalvin May 2015 #116
The first one's hilarious. The second one's perfect. Iggo May 2015 #113
Good Turbineguy May 2015 #123
and some Mother's Day cards... Duppers May 2015 #129
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