Greeting cards for long-term illness tend to offer extremely cliché attempts at inspirational messages: “One step at a time,” for example, or “Think positive and have faith.” Cliché is perhaps fine for a birthday card, but for a person dealing with the fear, anxiety, and stress (pdf, pg. 6) of serious illness, one often wants to convey support that goes beyond tired phrases.
That’s why the designer Emily McDowell, herself a cancer survivor, created “empathy cards,” a set of sometimes hilarious, mostly just frank, cards to give someone dealing with cancer or other serious illness. The cards all convey a commitment to physical presence and emotional support for a person.
McDowell was not immediately available for comment, but spokeswoman Sara Van der Voort tells Quartz that the response to these cards has been overwhelming. McDowell explained the problems with other cards in a blog post:
“Get well soon” cards don’t make sense when someone might not. Sympathy cards can make people…