Originally published on The Mighty
After hearing that a friend has been diagnosed with cancer or another illness, most people’s knee-jerk response is, “Let me know if you need anything!” However, they may not follow up or know how they can actually support their friend. Ken Jeong revealed Thursday the sweet way his friend and costar Bradley Cooper assisted his family while his wife underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer, providing a great example of what true support looks like.
Jeong’s wife, Tran, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, after the birth of their twin daughters. Jeong was filming “The Hangover” in Las Vegas while she underwent chemotherapy in Los Angeles.
Jeong told Entertainment Tonight that Cooper drove him from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for the holidays, and then invited the Jeongs to his house since Tran wasn’t strong enough to travel anywhere.
“Bradley had us come over to his place and be with his family,” Jeong said. “It got me through the most difficult period of my life.”
Tran has been cancer-free for 10 years. Jeong said she is his “role model and hero.”
“Even if we weren’t married, she is really the strongest person I know,” he said.
Jeong also discussed Tran’s cancer in his new Netflix special, “You Complete Me, Ho” which was released on Valentine’s Day (the title is a reference to Tran’s maiden name, Ho). He said he almost didn’t accept the role of Mr. Chow because he would have to film in Las Vegas during Tran’s chemotherapy. But director Todd Phillips offered to do reshoots without him so they could finish the movie around him and said he could get him a flight home for each of Tran’s treatments.
“He did not have to do that,” Jeong said.
If you’re looking for ways to support a friend who is going through an illness or a friend whose partner is going through an illness, take inspiration from Cooper and Phillips and offer concrete, tangible things you can do to make their life easier. Show up and do something, as Mighty contributor Julieann Selden recommended:
Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wonder if they need anything. If they have a cancer diagnosis in the family, they most likely need something. Offer suggestions to gauge what’s most helpful if you are unsure. Otherwise take a guess and go for it.
Bring freezer meals, treats, gift cards, groceries or toiletries. Bring something fun for the kids or offer to take them to the park. Shovel their snow or mow their lawn. Invite your friend to go out or stay in with you — whatever they prefer. Bring them a blanket, book, card or gift.