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When you find out that a coworker, friend, or family member is going through treatment for a potentially fatal illness, such as cancer, figuring out what to say isn’t always easy. And if you take a trip to the greeting card aisle, the often saccharine messages (and do you get a sympathy card or a get-well-soon card?) can come off as insensitive or superficial.
That’s where Empathy Cards, a new series of greeting cards from 38-year-old Emily McDowell, a Los Angeles–based writer and designer, come in. McDowell knows firsthand what someone who is ill needs to hear. When she was 24, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was successfully treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

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