Empathy Cards: A Cancer Survivor Creates Cards She Wished She Had Received

When Emily McDowell, a Los Angeles Designer, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the young age of 24, she experienced a range of emotions. McDowell went through 9 months of chemo and radiation therapy before going into remission.

"The most difficult part of my illness wasn't losing my hair or being erroneously called 'sir' by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo — its was the loneliness and isolation I felt when 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" McDowell wrote on her website.


Now 38, McDowell has been cancer-free ever since. She has a wide range of clever cards on her website, but has recently launched her empathy cards — for people who don't know what to say.


These empathy cards are based off of what she did and didn't want to here when she was ill. She wanted to provide "better, more authentic ways to communicate about sickness and suffering."


The design "ended up skewing a bit more feminine that I intended, though. Future additions to the collection will be more gender-balanced."


"I feel like people with an illness are people first, so I didn't want to treat the aesthetics of these differently from the rest of my collection."