STEP 2 - Customize a wish list to match patient's needs, restrictions, and expected duration of treatments or at-home surgical recovery

  • Ask your medical provider to predict the timelines and any specific restrictions and/or challenges that you will face during treatments and/or during at-home surgical recovery. Ask how long each might be expected to last, or how frequent each might be.  (For example: With chemo, expect bouts of nausea. Exhaustion and mental confusion (chemo brain) can be expected after each treatment. For major surgery, expect three weeks of no driving, no lifting, no vacuuming, etc. .
  • With your CarePartner, customize the sample wish list to match any specific tasks you and your family are most likely to need help with during which ever treatment plan is yours. Jot names and contact information for nearby neighbors and friends who might be available to help. Don't worry if you don't have family nearby, one CarePartner and you Core Support Team are enough to get you started. 
  • With your CarePartner, draft an email request letter that will accompany your wish list, detailing the predicted timeline that help will be needed, and ask who might be willing to help. The letter should come from the CarePartner and should suggest participants go to the CareBrigade web site if they'd like to learn more. 
  • Identify a computer-savvy friend, colleague or older teen and ask them to serve as the scheduler. 


  • Brainstorm with your CarePartner any local communities you are connected with (where people at least would know your name) and that you have emails for. The wish list usually covers things people who live nearby might be willing to help with typically the daily life tasks like food shopping, driving, babysitting, managing household repairs, running drug store errands, dog walking, and of course, providing meals.
    • Be adventurous. Look at the PTA email list, neighborhood association lists, teen babysitters, book club,  golf buddies, church or synagogue lists, friends of your children and/ or their parents. Be creative. 
    • Remember to ask lots of  single people. especially single parents, retired folks, and anyone who lives alone, especially those without close family living nearby, who might be in a similar situation some day. Give them a chance to Pay it Forward!  Most of us love to give, but hate to ask! 


Links to Sample Documents:

Sample Wish List

Sample Request Letter

  • The CarePartner, using the Patient as ghostwriter) drafts and signs the letter, then sends the request, along with the customized wish list. If neither is a good writer have the patient dictate the letter to the communicator. Request a specific time/date to have all replies returned.
  • In the letter, volunteers should be asked to pick ONLY tasks that they would enjoy doing.  Also, remind people that the patient may not use everyone right away, or maybe at all, but that having a large CareBrigade on call not only means the patient will be well covered, but also that volunteers can say no without guilt when called because plenty of other people have said yes. 
  • The CarePartner signs the letter and asks that everyone sends their wish list directly back to him/her and/or the scheduler. The patient should not have to manage the answers.  Also make the CarePartner, not the Patient, the contact for any volunteer's questions.

Click here to proceed to Step 3.