[Editor’s Note:  I have a friend named Sue who recently underwent her first round of chemo.  As her patient advocate and friend, I wanted to give her a gift that would be appropriate yet meaningful.  I took to Google and was disappointed in the minimal offerings and selection of meaningless gifts—until I found Rock the Treatment.  I was so impressed with what Owner/Operator Stacy Berkowitz had researched and pulled together, I not only bought the basket, I reached out to her to thank her personally.  And to get her story.  “Anyone,” I thought,” that took the time to pull all of this together and turn it into a business has a story to tell.”  And I was right.  She does.  This is her story.  And, by the way, Sue loves the basket and is using every single thing in it.]

 

“Thank you so much for offering comfort items for those we love going through such hard times.  It meant so much to me, feeling so helpless knowing all my loved one is going through I will share with everyone I know!!!” –Angela

Unfortunately, we all know at least one person battling cancer. Anyone who has been affected directly or indirectly by this insidious disease is all too familiar with the fact that the treatment can be rough. I got a glimpse at just how difficult managing treatment can be when I visited a friend shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer and had started chemotherapy.

While we were chatting, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to see a huge beautiful fruit bouquet. I brought it into the kitchen, placed it on the table and realized there were a few similar ones around the room. So to lighten the mood, I began joking about how she could open her own fruit stand.  She immediately turned somber and confided that while she loved fruit, and seemed like a good, healthy choice for a gift, the scent was so overwhelming it was making her physically ill. 

Until then, I had no idea that one of theside effects of chemotherapy was a heightened sensitivity to scents—often leading to severe nausea.  Also, she mentioned, the acid from the fruit hurt her mouth when she attempted to eat it, as mouth sensitivity (along with dryness) is another known side effect.

Not knowing what to do, I quickly offered to take the fruit out of the room. She pointed to somebath and body products (which she also received as gifts) and then got visibly upset.  When I asked what was wrong, she started explaining that she felt guilty, because friends and family spent time and money to send gifts as a show of their love and support.  And the last thing she wanted was to seem unappreciative, because she could not use them.

I immediately thought OMG!  I have done this exact thing! I have also sent gifts to loved ones with good intentions.  It saddened me to think that my gifts did the exact opposite and possibly made my loved one feel guilty during this most difficult time in their lives.

“Sarah's basket was delivered today, and she loved it.  Thank you so much! In a time where there is so little I can do, this treatment box was perfect!” - Michelle 

I went home determined to find my friend the “perfect” gift. So I started to Google and found very limited optionsmost of which (I found) to be depressing and or had no use or added value. I mean, how is a rock with the word “hope” on it going to be helpful (let alone joyful)?

So I turned to some family members that had undergone treatment, as well as a friend who was an oncology nurse, with hopes that they can lead me in the right direction.  With their guidance, I was able to put together a gift that I would appreciate if I was ever in the same circumstance. The bright and boldly colored basket was filled with items to help my friend find comfort mentally and physically. And she absolutely loved it! 

Several months later, my friend asked if I could make another one for her to give to someone. At that point, I realized that baskets like this could help bring a little joy and comfort to people going through one of the most difficult times in their lives. And thus Rock the Treatment was born. 

It feels good to know that in some way I am helping someone go through treatment. But what I hadn’t thought about was how much those who send the gifts appreciate that they can support their loved one in a meaningful and useful way.  I cherish this unexpected aspect every time I get emails from buyers who share their gratitude for Rock the Treatmentand offering a helpful gift option. At least once a week, I receive an email sharing an entirely new way this basket has helped in some way.

“I just wanted to tell you that this basket was a BIG hit! Joe LOVED it, and his wife Cheryl said that since it had the items recommended by the oncologist it saved her a trip to the store. Thank you so much for offering such a thoughtful gift.” – Daniel 

Everything about these gifts is a labor of love—right down to the name. It took me several months to just think of a name than emanated the message I wanted to send.  “Here is a gift that is going to help you ROCK the TREATMENT!”

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” – Winston Churchill

Helping people has always been my passion. But the truth is, starting this business has perhaps helped me possibly understand more than anything else. Aside from the sense of fulfillment, gratification, and a feeling of accomplishment, it has given me a sense of perspective and gratitude that I don’t think I would have come to gain.

Of great importance to me is using some of the proceeds of the sales to support local cancer organizations. There are so many small groups that do such amazing things for people with cancer, but they find it difficult to compete for funding. From the onset, my focus is to contribute to places where our donation would make a direct impact.   

Finding the gratitude,

Stacy Berkowitz
Owner, Rock the Treatment

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.