Cancer Survivor Designs the Perfect Empathy Cards

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Cancer survivor Emily McDowell is designing the kinds of cards she wished she had received from friends and family when she was sick.

Empathy Card
(Courtesy Emily McDowell)

When the Los Angeles–based designer was 24, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She endured nine months of chemo and radiation before going into remission. But she says the most difficult part of her illness wasn’t losing her hair or sickness from treatment.

It was that many of her friends and family members “disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it,” McDowell writes on her website.

McDowell, now 38, is cancer-free and is launching her own series of Empathy Cards — good-humoured greeting cards that say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill.

“Get well soon” cards “don’t make sense when someone might not,” McDowell writes. She hopes that Empathy Cards provide “better, more authentic ways” for people to communicate about sickness and suffering.

See some examples below. What do you think of these Empathy Cards?

[slideshow]

 

/stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-illness-is-not-a-journey-empathy-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris ::: /stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-no-good-card-sympathy-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris ::: /stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-one-more-chemo-down-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris ::: /stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-i-didnt-know-what-to-say-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris ::: /stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-friendship-through-cancer-empathy-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris ::: /stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-happens-for-a-reason-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris ::: /stevenandchris/content/images/__common/_slideshow/_fullslide/empathy-card-treatment-on-the-internet-card_1024x1024.jpg:::(Courtesy Emily McDowell):::Emily McDowell's Empathy Cards for serious illness | Steven & Chris :::
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