In honor of World Cancer Day, I want to talk about how to pull together a chemo care bag. This is a meaningful way to support family and friends who are fighting cancer and whose treatment involves chemotherapy.
A chemo comfort bag is not only a great way to be supportive, but also a nice, creative way to add a personal touch to your gift.
The beauty of the chemo care bag is that you can make as few or as many handmade items to add to it as you want. If you are short on time, it’s easy to start with pre-fab items. If you’re not short on time, then you can make a variety of items.
A gift of a goodie-filled bag will still hold the same value regardless of how you decide to approach building the bag.
And while you’re at it, why not make a couple of extra items to donate to a local cancer center?
What Should I Put In A Bag?
If you’re wondering what to put in a chemo care comfort bag, there are some basic items that are always useful to any cancer patient, mix-and-match as you see fit. Here are some items to include:
- A warm hat made of fleece or soft, machine-washable yarn.
- A pair of warm, fuzzy socks.
- A fleece lap blanket.
- A reusable bottle or insulated mug to hold the person’s favorite beverage.
- A chemo port pillow (if they have a port)
- Tea bags (optional: place them in a tea wallet)
- Lip balm (optional: place it in a lip balm holder)
- A way to pass the time. This could be the person’s favorite magazine(s), a book of crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or a deck of cards.
There are, of course, additional items that you may choose to include depending on the recipient. However, the above list is a great way to get started.
Tutorials To Get Your Chemo Care Bag Started
The beauty of this Create to Donate project is that there are several ways to include handmade pieces. To give you a head start, I have explained some details about each item, as well as included some links to helpful tutorials.
MAKE A TOTE BAG
There are plenty of pre-fab canvas totes available at stores like JoAnn’s, Michael’s, and Walmart. While a zipper isn’t necessary, but would be helpful to keep the items contained.
Purchasing a tote? You can easily customize it to make it more special. There are a variety of fabric paints, or you can use a cutting machine like a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, to cut out a fun SVG with some HTV to personalize the tote.
Want to go pure DIY with the tote? Then a basic tote is your best bet. You can use canvas, denim, or a fun cotton print. This is another one that you can personalize with a sweet message like “Stay strong,” or the above “You are loved“.
Here is a tutorial on how to make a tote bag.
MAKE A WARM HAT
A warm hat made from fleece or soft, machine-washable yarn is a great thing to include in your bag. Please note: The inside of the hat shouldn’t have any seams or rough edges.
Here is a reversible fleece beanie tutorial I use frequently from Crafty Gemini.
If knitting is more your thing, here are some easy hat patterns.
MAKE A FLEECE LAP BLANKET
Just like a having a beanie to help manage body temperature during chemo is important, a fleece lap blanket can also bring great comfort. JoAnn’s regularly has deep sales on fleece so you can make an inexpensive one fairly easily.
So, here is a tutorial on how to make a no sew fleece blanket.
MAKE A CHEMO PORT PILLOW
If you are gifting this bag to someone who will have a port throughout their chemo treatment, a chemo port pillow will reduce their discomfort. This small pillow is used when riding in the car or when wearing a purse or bag strap near the port. This project is an easy scrap buster and takes merely minutes to make.
Here is a chemo port pillow tutorial.
MAKE A TEA WALLET
Peppermint or ginger tea may help with nausea so tea bags are a great thing to have on-hand while going through chemotherapy. The tea bags can easily carried (and found) in a purse or a bag if you present them in a tea wallet.
This tea bag wallet tutorial walks you through how to make one with a serger; however, you can easily convert the instructions to make this with a sewing machine instead.
MAKE A LIP BALM HOLDER
Including lip balm in your bag means that someone can easily stay ahead of dry, chapped lips. When you place the lip balm in a holder with key ring means it, like the tea bag wallet, someone can easily find it when it’s needed.
Bring Continued Comfort To Cancer Patients
It’s hard to know what to do when a friend or family member is diagnosed with cancer and has to go through chemotherapy. Gifting a chemo care bag is a thoughtful, unobtrusive way to show your support.
Cancer centers across the US are always in need of supplies for their bags and handmade items are always in demand. To find out more about cancer resources in your area, check out this American Cancer Society page.
After creating some items to donate, please tag them #createtodonate and #goodsgivingback so that I can repost them. Also, if you already support a local-area cancer support organization, I am happy to feature them and their exact needs for FREE here on Create to Donate. So, just contact me!