You’ve been there and so you understand what other chronically ill kids are going through – the worry and fear and difficulties of everyday life. You may also be able to help. Chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of help, yourself? If so, here are three ways to pay it forward to kids who need your support:

1. Help With Care

You’ve been there and so may know enough about a child’s condition, or you may be able to learn enough about a condition, that you can help with care. Maybe you can even babysit! You’d be surprised how powerful it can be for a child to connect with an older friend who has been where they are now. And parents of ill kids need a break too!

2. Be There

How much have you told your friends or extended family about your condition? How much do you think they could bear to hear? It’s the same for most ill kids: It can be a challenge to find someone to be open with about their illness. The fact is that you may be one of the few people who can truly understand. That means you have the special opportunity to accept some of this burden. Just by listening, you can lessen their load.

3. Enjoy Life

Sometimes when you’re sick, you can look up to find that months or even years have passed without you noticing. You put one foot in front of the next and just keep going. But there’s gotta be more to life than that! Even chronically ill kids have hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes. You have the opportunity to help a sick kid take a step outside their struggle to have some fun. You should plan it. If necessary, you should pay for it. But then consider leaving illness behind for a few hours while your sick friend focuses on him- or herself in a way that on most days is impossible.

Sheri Sobrato
Sheri is a 30-year brain cancer survivor and founder of the nonprofit Digging Deep.