How to Encourage Someone Dealing with an Illness

Encourage those going through illness with these 4 simple and thoughtful ideas.

This post is close to home for me.  My cousin, Allison, was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma a few years ago. The doctors thought they removed all of the tumors by putting her through chemo, radiation, and a clinical trial medication. She’s only 27. She lives in San Antonio, but she is getting treated at MD Anderson in Houston.  A few weeks ago the doctors found more tumors in her brain and her body. My heart breaks for her. I wanted her to know that I am here for her and we haven’t forgotten that she is going through this. I wanted to come up with some ways to encourage her when she came into town a few weeks ago and to let her know that she’s not alone.

Sometimes we feel helpless when we know someone experiencing some sort of tragedy and we end up not doing anything because the situation seems so overwhelming.  But not doing anything is what the devil wants you to do! He wants you to sit idle and just watch as these things are happening to our loved ones.



Pray for Them

Physically lay your hands on them and pray. Jesus tells us in Mark 16:17-18

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

If you believe the Bible then you should be laying hands on the sick. The bible doesn’t say that they might recover. It says they will recover. Our job isn’t to determine if they will be healed, we just need to obey, pray and believe, and trust God that He works out the good for those who love Him.  Allison came into town and we, as a family, laid hands on her and prayed for healing.  If you know anyone with an illness, ask them if you can pray for
them! Chances are they will not say no.

Make a Book Basket

I know Allison has a lot of free time between treatments and she is usually by herself at MD Anderson, so I gave her the book Captivating by John and Staci Eldridge.  It’s not an in your face Christian book, but it is so encouraging for women. It explains our value and worth in God’s eyes. It is a great book for a woman going through chemo because she may not be feeling beautiful because of her circumstances, but this book shares how precious we are to God and how beautiful we are to Him. Books are a great way for people to pass the time as they are undergoing treatments.

Raise/Give Money

Allison’s medical bills have racked up to $600,000!! Thankfully her insurance covers almost all of that and she only owes around $5,000 out-of-pocket.  However, she can’t work or drive because the medication she is on causes seizures. In that case, $5,000 is a lot of money! For someone without insurance, the bills alone can seem life-ending.  My sister held a multi-family garage sale and all of the proceeds went to Allison. She was able to raise $1,200 dollars in just a few hours. Also, there are websites, like Go Fund Me, where you can create a website for someone in need and spread the word about raising money.  Even if it’s not a lot of money that you raise, God will sow that seed 10 fold.  Any amount can help lift the burden they are carrying to pay the medical bills.

Send Them a Handwritten Letter

Technology makes it so convenient to connect with almost anyone these days.  But, I’m old fashioned and love a good handwritten letter because it seems more genuine. Hand-written letters show that you thought about that person so much that you took time out of your day, bought a card, wrote out a message, and went to the Post Office to buy stamps and mail it off. And everyone knows that if you’re going all the way to the post office you must care a lot! I gave Allison a journal and wrote her a letter inside. Since she has so much down time at the hospital, I thought a journal would be a great way for her to write down her thoughts and prayers.  Also, In the letter include encouraging verses that can help bring hope and speak life over their situation.

Hebrews 3:13

I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but these are just things that I have done that seem to have a positive impact on their situation. People dealing with an illness want to feel like you understand what is going on or that people aren’t forgetting about what they are going through. Some people may even feel like they are a burden to others! That is so sad and no one should ever feel that way.  So today, if you know anyone experiencing cancer, or some sort of tragedy, reach out to them and let them know they are not alone and that they can place their hope in Jesus, who has never left their side.

What are some ways you can encourage someone dealing with an illness or going through a tough time?

Haylee for Satisfaction Through Christ


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I live in Baton Rouge, LA with my husband and 3 fur children, a rescue doberman, a golden retriever, and a pug. We love to travel and visit new places. We also love to use our business as our ministry outlet, and let Jesus shine through us. I have a slight obsession with Pinterest and pinning my dream vacations, dream closet, and perfecting DIY projects/Recipes. However, Above all, I am the daughter of a King who lavishly loves us. My passion is to see women flourish and blossom with their new identity in Christ.

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  1. says

    These are some really great ideas, Haylee – thank you for sharing them. I’m going to take time today to send a card to someone I know battling cancer. God bless!

  2. balmtomysoul says

    Haylee, Thanks for the post. Sometimes we don’t do anything because we don’t know what to do, especially if it is a long-term illness. Just acknowledging someone else’s pain and spending a little time with them can be so helpful. I like the book basket and prayer! So beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Haylee says

      Thank you so much for reading 🙂 book baskets are awesome especially since you can customize them to that persons needs and interests!

  3. says

    This is a beautiful post. I am a breast cancer survivor, almost done with treatment…. Frankly, if it weren’t for simple little acts of kindness over the last 7 months, I probably wouldn’t have fared as well as I did. You just never know how even the smallest thing is going to completely change someone who is battling cancer’s day.

    • Haylee says

      Thank you for your kind words about the post and sharing your story. It is definitely the little things that can brighten someone’s day. Praise God that your a survivor and will soon be done with treatment!

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing, Haley! Besides my blog, I write for Rest Ministries which is a Christian chronic illness support resource. These suggestions are great and would make such a difference especially since chronic illness is so isolating. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I had a few people do stuff like this for me and it helped get me through an extremely rough time. It is intimidating, but having a list of things we can do makes it so much easier to have a place to start with to encourage someone!
    -S.L. Payne,

  5. says

    Hi Haylee (love that spelling!) – just after reading your bio, I already know I love you and your heart for God.;-} God has blessed me with the gift of encouragement – these are GREAT ideas to share. I have a card ministry and find it’s amazing how the little things in life really are the big things. Keep looking up Dear.

  6. kancell724 says

    Thank you for linking this up on Tips and Tricks last week. It’s a great post. I had a stroke at 25 and not many people know how to handle a family member or friend being ill. I wish your cousin the best of luck in her treatments and send my prayers to her and your family.

  7. Christina says

    Thanks for this post. My grandpa recently got diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, he has chosen not to get treatment. Its really hard to come to terms with the fact that he might not be here anymore, personally I support whatever decision he wants. He is a Godly man, has been for most of his life. I don’t know if it’s in Gods plan to heal him or take him. Whatever Gods will is I just hope I can let him know how much I love him. Again thanks for this post, it really cleared my thoughts.

    • Haylee says

      I’m so sorry to hear that, I had a grandparent that passed of cancer, and the only regret I have is that I never laid my hands on him and prayed for his healing. I didn’t know God when my pawpaw was sick and I wish I would have known then what I know now about God being a divine healer. All we can do is lay hands on the sick, step out in faith and leave the rest up to God. Either way it goes, God is love and the giver of life and His ways are perfect! I will be praying for your grandpa’s divine healing! Nothing is impossible with Christ!

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