10 Ways to Help a Family After Their Child’s Cancer Diagnosis

10 Ways to Help a Family After Their Child’s Cancer Diagnosis

We recently spoke with Maci Belle, Mom to Luna and Aspen, to talk about motherhood, childhood cancer awareness, life after child loss, parenting, photography, creativity and so much more. Aside from being a Mom to her two daughters Luna and Aspen, Maci is a photographer, creator, the voice behind @grievingthemoon on Instagram and TikTok, the founder of The Little Moon blog and Co-founder with Kate Vazquez of Together We Grieve on YouTube. We are grateful to Maci for sharing her insights on ways to help a family after their child's cancer diagnosis and for her advocacy on behalf of children and families navigating a cancer diagnosis.


Hi, I’m Maci! My beautiful daughter Luna was diagnosed with a cancer called Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor (MRT) at only 2.5 months old. Ever since that moment, our lives have been forever changed and so have our goals in life. Luna fought cancer with a smile on her face and had a laugh that would bring nurses from down the hall into our room to see what it was so funny. Luna Claire passed away from her cancer at 8 months old and now I will spend the rest of my life honoring her and raising awareness for childhood cancer.

10 Ways to Help a Family After Their Child’s Cancer Diagnosis

You get a call. Your friend's child has just been diagnosed with cancer. You feel helpless and can only imagine how the parents might feel. What do you do? How do you help? Here are 10 ways to help a family whose child has just received a cancer diagnosis.


Sounds like it’s not enough to most, but it’s one of the most helpful things you can do. Listen without judgment. Listen without providing platitudes. Listen without putting yourself in their situation by saying “I would…” - Just listen.

Respect Their Privacy

It can feel like the whole world has their eyes on you. What’s she going to say next? What’s her child’s survival rate? What type of cancer does their child have? At the time, I didn’t share those things for a reason. I couldn’t process the fact that my child’s survival rate was 8% while also trying to educate and explain that information to others. Honestly, I still can’t comprehend how Luna's survival rate was 8%.

Provide a Meal

There are no kitchens at the hospital. Our options for our week long chemo stays were to order DoorDash or meal prep, two things that we didn’t always have the mental energy or funds for. How am I going to have the energy to take care of my baby if I haven’t eaten all day? How am I going to have time to get food when I’m too busy taking care of my baby? Taking care of Mom and Dad is also helping them to care for their child.

Help Watch Siblings

I know that sometimes siblings can come to the hospital when one child is getting chemo but it’s not always the case. What about school? Play-dates? Living part of your life at home and part of your life in the hospital is a hard balance for any family.

Pet Care

When people asked me how they could help, one of the things I would always say is dog care. My baby might be too sick to go for dog walks. What do we do while we are in the hospital? The family pet should be the least of a family’s worries when their child is in the hospital. Offering to watch the family dog, cat or other pet(s) is a huge blessing that does not go unrecognized.

Don’t Stay Silent

You might not always know what to say, but staying silent isn’t always the best thing either. The internet can at times be a helpful resource on topics like “What to say to someone whose child just got diagnosed with cancer.” - Say “I’m so sorry.” Say “I love you and I’m here for you.” You can’t fix their problems with your words, and don’t try to, but you CAN tell them you care.

Show Up

... not unannounced of course, but being a parent to a sick child, can be extremely lonely and isolating. Your friends might not feel comfortable going out to social events anymore but having someone come, sit on the couch or the hospital bed for a while might be the social interaction that is needed to get through the day. So ask if you can visit. Ask if they want company. Respect their wishes if they say no but make sure your offer is there when and if it's a yes.

Advocate and Raise Awareness

It doesn’t have to be childhood cancer awareness month (September) for you to speak up! Sharing posts and speaking about childhood cancer is one super easy way to let us know you care.

Have the Hard Conversations

Initially, no one wanted to have this conversation. But how the heck were we going to pay our bills? From taking off work to medical bills… we couldn't process how many household tasks were going to get done. Our friends came together and made things happen for us.

Ask Questions, Then Act

Ask your friend(s) if they need anything. But don’t ask if you’re not actually going to have the time to follow through. If they say they haven’t been able to vacuum or clean their house in a while, ask if you can come over and clean. If they say they haven’t eaten all day and it is 4 PM ask if you can bring over a meal. If they say they can’t go grocery shopping because their child is too sick, ask if it’s okay for you to go grocery shopping for them. Providing an act of service can really turn someone’s day around.


Our "Tough" Cookies are dedicated to amazing children who inspire us to action. Each box is wrapped with a grosgrain ribbon in their favorite color. Inside, you'll also find a card with the child's special story. 100% of the proceeds support research at the nation's leading pediatric cancer centers. If you would like to support Luna's legacy, CLICK HERE to send Luna's Little Moon Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can also choose to make a donation in honor of Luna to Cookies for Kids' Cancer, where you are helping to fund critically needed childhood cancer research to find safer, more effective treatments for children facing a cancer diagnosis.

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