Support for People with Cancer
How do cancer patients hear about the Chemo Angels program?
People with cancer hear about us in a variety of ways - from their oncologist, treatment center, chemo nurses, or hospital, but also from friends or relatives. Some are referred by the American Cancer Society. Some have read about us in a magazine or newspaper.
What are the different types of angel volunteers?
Chemo Angels are assigned to a specific patient. They send their patient at least one card or letter and a small, inexpensive gift every week.
Card Angels are assigned to a specific patient. They send their patient at least one card or letter every week.
Senior Angels are assigned to a senior in the Senior Angels program. They send their patient at least one card or letter every week, as wellas the occasional small gift.
Prayer Angels are put on a mailing list and notified whenever one of our recipients has a special need of prayers. To become a Prayer Angel, submit a Prayer Angel application.
Can I be assigned to a patient or senior in my area?
We do not match up Angels and patients/seniors according to their geographic locations. Since our service is provided via postal mail, the location of either party is unimportant. We do match patients/seniors to Angels in the same country whenever possible. For example, we assign U.S. Angels to U.S. patients/seniors, Canadian Angels to Canadian patients/seniors, etc.
Can a group of people (a classroom, women's club, church group, etc.) sign up together?
We do not accept Angeling groups. Our patients/seniors feel much more comfortable with one-on-one relationships.
Can my child (or grandchild) sign up as a Chemo Angel volunteer?
We do not accept Angel volunteers under the age of 25. Your child may certainly help with your angeling as an Angel-partner with you, but we cannot assign him/her a patient/senior.
Can I choose my patient?
No, the Chemo Angels administration will choose your buddy. We do not assign Angels to people they know or request.
Will you automatically send me an update on my patient every month?
No, but you can request an update on your buddy once a month by clicking on the "Request patient or senior update" link in the Angel's Corner section of our site.
How long does it take to receive an assignment?
The average wait for an assignment is 2-5 weeks, depending on how specific you were on your application regarding patient preference. For example, if you are waiting for a 10 – 12 year old girl, your wait will be much longer. If you are waiting for a patient in a country other than the United States, your wait will most likely be longer, also.
Why must volunteers be 25 years of age or older?
We used to accept volunteers as young as 18, but it just did not work out. Nine out of ten Angels under the age of 25 ended up quitting the program, and it was very disruptive for our recipients and the program.
I am finishing my cancer treatment and want to become an Angel right away. Can I?
Thank you so much for wanting to become an Angel! We would love for you to join, but it has been our experience that recent treatment graduates tend to jump in before they are quite ready. They are usually just not back up to speed yet with their lives and health and energy levels, and that is perfectly understandable! We want you to be sure that you can REALLY commit to this. Remember, we are not going anywhere. There is plenty of time for you to become an Angel in a few months.
Can I have more than one patient/senior at a time?
A few Angels have more than one patient/senior, but we do not encourage it because we want each volunteer to "give their all" to one patient/senior at a time. If you are absolutely sure you can handle more than one buddy and you have proven yourself to be a good Angel, you are welcome to apply for an additional buddy.
Do patients or seniors and angels ever talk on the phone or meet, or is this not allowed?
The Chemo Angels program is carried out strictly through the postal service. If an Angel and her patient or senior want to take their relationship to another level, that is out of the realm of Chemo Angels and strictly up to the individuals themselves.
Do you give out or sell your participant's personal information?
NEVER! We respect the privacy of all our participants and we do everything we can to protect their personal information.
How long does the average assignment last?
The average course of chemo is 3-6 months. Immunotherapy treatment varies in length. While some treatments are shorter, others are much longer. 18 months is the maximum length for a Chemo Angel assignment, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
How long will my assignment last?
The average Chemo Angel assignment lasts between 4-6 months. Senior Angel assignments last much longer.
How will I know when my assignment to my buddy is over?
We graduate patients after/if they have received good news from their first post-treatment medical tests. This normally occurs 2-4 weeks after their last treatment, whether it is chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy. All Angels are notified by the administration at the end of their assignment and can ask to be put on the waiting list if they would like another assignment.
Should I expect to hear back from my buddy?
You should never expect to hear from your patient/senior. Our recipients are told from the start that they are under no obligation to respond directly to their Angels. Patient/senior response and feedback varies hugely. Some of our recipients enjoy responding to their Angel, but most respond minimally or not at all. We are here to encourage, not to add another obligation to our patients/seniors lives. Please remember, this is not a pen pal program. Our recipients are required to check in with Chemo Angels administration once a month, and Angels can request a copy of their buddy's check-in each month from the administration.
Is e-mail a part of the program?
The Angel/patient relationship is strictly postal. Angels send at least one card, letter or small gift weekly. E-mail with a buddy should not be considered a substitute for sending postally at least once a week.
I have a friend who would love to be an Angel, but she does not have a computer. Can she help?
We know there are many wonderful would-be Angels out there without computers, but our Angel volunteers do need to have e-mail capabilities and regular access to it.
I am a Christian. Why is it against your rules to evangelize?
This organization is a ministry to cancer patients and seniors, not an evangelical ministry. On our patient/senior application there is a question pertaining to what religion, if any, the patient/senior is. We do our best to assign Christian Angels to Christian patients/seniors, however, if a patient/senior states that they are not religious, we do ask the Angel to respect that, and not to send religious messages or items. Our purpose as a ministry is to comfort and support, not annoy or agitate. We have a large group of Prayer Angels who pray for all of our patients/seniors regardless of their spiritual beliefs.
Frequently Asked Questions by Volunteers