Families and friends currently unable to visit immune-compromised loved ones through Covid times have been sending them The Raffy – a carry bag packed full of essential personal items for cancer patients to take to treatment sessions.
The Raffy contains at least 17 personal gift items, each meticulously researched and selected to assist someone living with cancer.
With five unique bags in The Raffy range including teen and children’s options, a percentage of sales of every bag sold is donated to the Cancer Society of NZ.
The Raffy was by couple Peter and Susan Reeves after they struggled to find the right gift for Peter’s mother when she started chemotherapy last year.
“My mother Barbara was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer last year, and Susan looked at out-of-town options to send flowers to her. While flowers are lovely to receive, we knew they wouldn’t ease Mum’s anxiety or help her to focus on preparing for the unknowns that lay ahead. We did our own research, talked to people who had experienced chemo, and started looking for helpful products which had proven useful and effective with Mum’s own needs in mind.
“We found a carry bag we knew Mum would keep and use again, and filled it with things like aluminium-free deodorant, chewable ginger lozenges to help with a dry mouth, nausea, and masking the metallic taste – all common side effects of treatment – beeswax lip balm and hand cream, a soft headscarf, and a reaffirmation notebook, which is how the name The Raffy came about. Mum writes in the notebook reaffirming her thoughts, inspirational quotes and challenges while recording the journey.”
Their efforts were not lost on Barbara, who was surprised and delighted at her family’s level of thoughtfulness.
“Opening the bag, she was blown away. She’s taken her Raffy bag along to a few treatments now and says the process of packing The Raffy mentally prepare and centres her before going to treatment. We’d hoped the gifts would help relieve her chemo side-effects, and the boredom of long hours spent receiving treatments are overcome with a puzzle book inside the bag. She’s become something of a Sudoku ace!”
Peter Reeves says The Raffy is intended to be a starter bag with recipients adding to it with their own favourite products as they progress through their treatment plan.
“We’ve tried to include relevant and where possible, New Zealand-made products. The teen bag comes with a phone charger, the children’s bags include a helpful reusable checklist for parents and kids to help with packing the bag before heading to chemo,” said Reeves.
“Our hope is to help cancer patients by removing some unknowns and provide a way for their closest people to help them through a confusing time. The receiver will be reminded of their friends, family and colleagues’ thoughtfulness during each treatment.”
The Raffy range is available online from RRP $149 – $229 plus shipping and includes a handwritten note card as personalised by the giver.
Every bag sold includes a donation to the Cancer Society of NZ.