These Are the Cards a Cancer Survivor Might Actually Want to Receive
Emily McDowell is one of our favorite makers, with her witty puns and adorable cat sketches. And this month, she started a whole new line of cards inspired by her experience dealing with cancer, and dealing with people who don’t know how to deal with cancer. She calls these cards “empathy cards.”
On her website she writes about how hard it can be to find the right thing to say when facing a loved one in a major health crisis, whether it’s cancer, mental illness or anything else. It seems that when it’s someone close to us, that’s when we have the toughest time knowing what to say.
On her site, Emily talked about all the wrong kinds of cards people give when facing a major illness: “I created this collection of empathy cards for serious illness, because I believe we need some better, more authentic ways to communicate about sickness and suffering. ‘Get well soon’ cards don’t make sense when someone might not. Sympathy cards can make people feel like you think they’re already dead. A ‘fuck cancer’ card is a nice sentiment, but when I had cancer, it never really made me feel better. And I never personally connected with jokes about being bald or getting a free boob job, which is what most cancer cards focus on.”
Her goal with the empathy cards was to help people connect with each other through thoughtful honesty and for the recipients to feel seen, understood and, most importantly, loved. Emily is herself a cancer survivor, making these cards especially close to her heart. Diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age 24, she went into remission after nine months of chemo and radiation and has been cancer-free since.
She comments that the hardest part of having cancer wasn’t losing her hair or constantly being sick from the chemo. She said the most difficult part of her illness was the loneliness and isolation she felt: “Many of my close friends and family members disappeared, because they didn’t know what to say or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.” Based on her experience, Emily set out to create empathy cards that say the things she would’ve liked to hear when she was sick.
We are huge believers in the power of snail mail, and when it comes to something as serious as a life-changing illness, a handwritten card touches someone in a way that email and text messages just can’t. “I think Empathy Cards are the most important things I’ve designed so far,” Emily commented, “and they’re some of my personal favorites. It’s not often that you look at a greeting card and think, ‘The world needs this,’ but in this case, I really believe that’s true.” There are eight cards in the empathy collection, but Emily plans on adding more designs to reach out to more people.
What do you think of these empathy cards? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)