Ask, Answer, Learn More

Hope’s Tips from Time
For tips on how to help a friend with cancer, see the Q & A with Hope by Time Magazine editor and contributing writer, Claudia Wallis.

Blog, Column, and Twitter
Hope wrote a blog about cancer support on the Huffington Post. (See archives here.) She also wrote “Hope for Cancer: what helps, what hurts, what heals” on, where she also wrote articles and features about how to help people with lung cancer and other subjects.

Hope also hosted a Book Club, creating and moderating discussions and forums for caregivers, on 

Hope created an acronym that makes cancer-care tips easier to remember. The acronym itself is easy to remember: HELP ME LIVE

H ope  – Keep it positive; no horror stories; highly suggestible

E mpathy – Imagine what your friend is going through; don’t pity, which implies rank

L isten – Your friend may need to talk; but don’t try to force them

P ermission – Ask before giving advice, sharing info, visiting


M ake it about them – It’s not about you, what you think they should do or feel

E scape – Help them escape through humor, light media


L ove – Say I love you if you do; what people with cancer said they most wanted to hear from family and friends

I nitiate contact – Check in, leave messages saying you don’t need to call me back; send cards (#1 form of social support women said they wanted); visit (after asking permission)

V alidate their feelings – Say things like, “That must be difficult”; don’t minimize feelings by saying they just have to think positively; don’t deny their feelings by saying they shouldn’t feel sad/angry, etc

E ducate yourself – Who is the person with cancer? Educate yourself about the disease, about your friend’swhat your friend enjoys and needs and wants, including their interests

Learn more about how to help, heal, and keep hope alive on The Today Show, Growing Bolder Radio, BeliefNet, and iVillage. To see Hope’s tips on NBC’s “Today Show”, click here . To hear more about how to support people with cancer, listen to Hope’s interview on Growing Bolder Radio . And for some easy-to-remember tips about how to keep hope alive, see Hope’s Galleries on Beliefnet, “Wise Words From Cancer Survivors” and “Playing the HOPE Card Through Cancer.” And to learn more about how to support anyone going through tough times, see iVillage’s slide show, “7 Ways to Help a Friend Through a Crisis”.

For more information about other helpful resources, please see the Resources page.

To purchase the Revised and Updated Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know, call or visit your local bookstore (or seeIndyBound or visit Random House. The book is also available on

Click here to read an article by Hope, “Help to Keep Your Children From Smoking.”

To contact Hope’s son Brett, email him at

The following is an article Lori wrote for CarePages’ Emotional Resource Center for Lung Cancer Awareness Month:

“What can I do to help?”

As many of us cancer survivors know, that oft-asked question posed by well-meaning friends can be anything but helpful. We’re often so overwhelmed with treatment decisions or other exigencies of Cancerland life that we can’t begin to figure out what kind of help we need. That’s why it’s important to make specific offers of help like “Can I pick up your dry cleaning or take Sarah to soccer practice for you?” [For more information about that, see link to Aflac survey on “News & Events” page.]

But when it comes to Lung Cancer Awareness Month, “What can I do to help?” can be very helpful indeed. So many lung cancer patients and survivors, as well as their friends and family, want to help eradicate the stigma and the disease, and heighten the awareness of the need for more funding into cause, prevention, and treatment. But they just don’t know what to do or where to start.

The key to making a difference is education. I probably don’t need to tell you that up to 20% of people with lung cancer never smoked, and 60% either never smoked or quit, sometimes decades ago. And that other possible causes of lung cancer include radon, secondhand smoke, and air pollution. A recent study in New Zealand showed a much lower incidence of lung cancer than in the U.S., even though smoking rates are the same. Researchers believe it has to do with particulates in the air. But other people remain mis- or under-informed.

So back to the question so many of us impacted by lung cancer keep asking. “What can I do to help?” How can we get lung cancer on a par with breast cancer, which annually kills less than half as many women?

I looked to some of our nation’s most committed leaders in the fight against lung cancer to learn what we can do to help during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. What follows is a list of 16 things, some very simple, involving just an email or quick phone call, and others that take more resources.

What matters — if you have even the slightest bit of drive and energy is that you do something. It will not only make you feel more powerful and less helpless, but may actually help you make some sense out of the seemingly senseless suffering this disease inflicts. My lung cancer spurred me to reach out and ultimately find some good in the disease. Writing “Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know,” which addresses the stigma of lung cancer as well as other sensitive issues, helped me assuage some of my guilt and shame over not being able to quit smoking when I was younger. And it made the indignity and pain of lung cancer feel almost worthwhile, because I was using it to help others.

So here goes. 15 Things You Can Do to Help During Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Please send in more and we will post an update. In the meantime, get on board online, in print, on the phone, in the grocery store line and help spread information and inspire compassion and action!

1. Get informed. Visit websites of the Lung Cancer Alliance, the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, the Beverly Fund, or other organizations to learn more about the disease. Make a bullet-pointed “cheat sheet” with the facts you find most surprising and compelling. Share the information with others in some of the following ways.

2. Susan Mantel, executive director of Joan’s Legacy, recommends that everyone talk to at least five people during November about lung cancer. Use your cheat sheet or share your own story.

3. Call or email your local media and urge them to cover Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Or write to Oprah or Ellen. Every day. Again, use your cheat sheet. Be prepared to offer personal stories, including real life examples of people who never smoked or who quit long ago. For more information and guidelines, see

4. Get inspired by visiting the Code Blue for Lung Cancer website, a project of the National Association of Broadcasters and the American Legacy Foundation, designed to raise awareness about lung cancer. Watch a podcast.

5. Write to your city council and get a proclamation declaring November Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, the Lung Cancer Alliance campaign got dozens of proclamations passed across the nation.

6. Help a friend quit smoking on the Great American Smokeout day November 15. For events near you, see
7. Or, check out the American Legacy Foundation’s new “Ex” program to help you or someone you know quit smoking:

8. Attend a fundraiser. Dozens of events, from inexpensive kite flying parties to chic and exclusive galas, happen during November. Visit for a list.

9. Encourage someone at high risk for lung cancer to get a screening CT. Dr. Claudia Henschke’s recent groundbreaking study of more than 30,000 individuals, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed a 10 year survival rate of an astounding 92% among people with lung cancer whose tumors were found early and removed. See

10. Purchase and wear a lapel button from the Lung Cancer Alliance. It’s silver and shows a human figure standing with arms on hips, representing the organization’s tagline: “No more excuses. No more lung cancer!” Says Sheila Ross of LCA, “Hopefully, as we begin to see real progress in treating and preventing lung cancer, or a significant change in how lung cancer is perceived, or more early detection or a major step forward, then one of those hands will start to raise up…first a little bit and then higher…. and then maybe the other one…. and then maybe one day both!”

11. Share your story. If not to the news media, then a Boy or Girl Scout Troop meeting, a cancer support group, or a Junior High health class. Whether you smoked or not, you likely have something powerful to share.

12. Set up a table at a local hospital or health fair, and distribute Lung Cancer Alliance or other organizations’ educational and advocacy materials.

13. Sign a petition to make lung cancer a national priority. See

14. Write a check to a lung cancer organization. Whether it’s for $10 or $10,000, it will help.

15. If you live in the San Francisco area, keep an eye out for “Remember November” coffee sleeves and paper bags designed to raise awareness of LCAM. The project was created by The Beverly Fund, an organization dedicated to fighting lung cancer. Started by Beverly’s daughter, Tracy Sestili, the organization is doing wonderful things for our community!

16. Start thinking about sponsoring an event for next year. My dream is for all the lung cancer organizations to join together and rally every lung cancer survivor, supporter, caregiver, and advocate to march or call or demonstrate in some powerful way that will be impossible to ignore. Again, I’m open to any and every idea! Contact me through my blog at CarePages or,“What Helps, What Hurts, What Heals”