Flowers - Let me start by saying I love flowers! I am not anti-flowers in the slightest, But the easy and obvious 'go-to' option is to send flowers, so rather than inundate your loved one with flowers, why not send them something more thoughtful, practical, or spoil them with a pampering gift that will last longer than a week? You can rest assured that they will most probably receive multiple bunches from other-wishers. There are also downsides to flowers as you need to be sure that they are in to receive the delivery, many hospitals now ban flowers, you need to be sure they (and nobody else in their family) suffer from hayfever, and they will need enough vases and utensils to home them (I ran out!).
'What a brilliant idea! I had chemo a couple of years ago and would have loved some of these gifts instead of flowers. Very good luck with your business.' Ginny, Surrey.
'I have ordered the items. Can I also say what a lovely website to set up, our client has breast cancer and we thought that flowers would be the first choice for everyone so it is nice to send something a bit different and thoughtful, I will be using you again.' Tasha, Manchester.
Edible treats - Many patients opt to, or are recommended to, avoid ingredients such as dairy - particularly during treatment, so chocolates, cakes and biscuits containing dairy could be a no-no and go to waste. Others also avoid sugar, but I have included some luxury, dairy-free chocolates with some of my gifts with minimal sugar.
'Hello there ! I've just seen your story on Meridian Tonight and just wanted to congratulate you. My mum was diagnosed with Lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) at the end of June this year and very sadly lost her battle on 28th September. She lived with my dad and sister in Suffolk and I am in Kent with my partner and four children. Because of this I didn't get to see my mum very often and wanted to send her cards and gifts to cheer her up. However as you would know it was very hard to find something! Nothing was suitable. The chemo had affected her tastebuds and she no longer liked chocolate, no flowers were allowed in the hospital and as you mentioned in your interview many toiletries contained unsuitable ingredients. I googled ' Hampers for cancer sufferers' and 'Gifts for people with cancer' but to no avail, I therefore just wanted to say well done on setting up this wonderful business. I'm sure it'll do very well. I just wish my mum was still here so I could purchase one of your hampers for her! Much love sent to you and very happy to hear of your recovery. Take Care.' Charmaine, Kent.
Toiletries - Many patients opt to, or are recommended to, avoid toiletries and cosmetics including chemicals such asparabens and sulphates, and even certain essential oils are best avoided. I have handpicked some natural toiletries and also include some toiletries that are specifically formulated for cancer patients.
'@notanotherbunch such a good idea! I ended up with all the overly scented non-paraben-free toiletries lovely people gave my mum on chemo...She was sent lots of nice gifts but lots made her feel queasy or contained ingredients she was trying to avoid, so helping people negotiate that stuff is a really great idea.' Jess, London, via Twitter.
Clothing - Comfy, cosy loungewear such as pyjamas and dressing gowns are a lovely gift for someone who might be spending lots of time in bed. Headscarves and hats are also a thoughtful gift, but you need to make sure that all are made of breathable natural fibres such as 100% cotton. Skin can become very sensitive so any material that can irritate is a no no - as is any man made fibres that can get a bit hot and sweaty.
The best get well gifts are ones that lift your spirits, are pampering or are practical. Home comforts become so important when you're stuck at home or hospital recovering from surgery, recuperating from illness or going through treatment. The gifts on Not Another Bunch of Flowers are hand-picked with this in mind, and a proportion of all profits are donated to charities to help support patients facing challenging diagnoses and to charities that invest in research to help find more treatments, and ultimately cures, for cancer.