Solidarity, support and hope — people dealing with cancer couldn’t ask for more.
It is in those troubling times that someone, perhaps an anonymous stranger, steps up and makes a difference in the life of someone dealing with one of the toughest diagnoses anyone could get.
That is the basis for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Campaign, which will launch its 2018 sales on Friday.
Held every April, Canadians have the opportunity to make a difference. Volunteers join the Canadian Cancer Society in raising awareness and funds to help change — and save — lives.
Nicole George is a volunteer with the campaign in St. John’s.
“When I sit at that table and people walk up to you and tell you their survival story — relate what they are going through — it makes me realize why I do this,” George said.
She will sell daffodils at the Sobeys in Mount Pearl for $8 per bunch. Grocery stores and supermarkets are the prime locations for those sales, in addition to tables located in shopping centres.
At her table alone, George says, she will have 40-50 volunteers, a small portion of the more than 2,500 who will participate in some way or another throughout the campaign.
Al Pelley, vice-president of philanthropy with the Canadian Cancer Society, Newfoundland and Labrador, said in addition to sales tables, there are 72 community champions who take orders in places where there are no malls or supermarkets to set up shop. This is another key component to the campaign.
“The daffodil, for us, is the symbol of hope,” Pelley said.
“We sell flowers in April as a part of the awareness campaign which serves as a symbol of hope for people living with or surviving from cancer.”
George said it always comes down to someone buying flowers in memory of someone and, by selling daffodils, she knows that money is going to stay in the province and go to help someone she knows or someone the buyer knows.
“Because I volunteer at the centre on Wednesday, I see the benefits of the campaign first hand. I am committed to this place for that reason. I really love volunteering here so much. It changed my perspective and my outlook on life.”
She said just getting to meet the people who are at Daffodil Place is special, but there are several that stand out to her.
“A couple came in from the Clarenville area, a really sweet couple. Her husband was so supportive of her. That really resonated with me,” she said.
“They would only come in on Wednesday, the day I worked. We bonded through that experience. It is amazing that you could change people’s lives in a short period of time.”
And she makes no apologies for being emotional.
“I cry all the time. When you see people come in and put on one of these wigs and you instantly see a change in them, to see that change right there in front of me, that is emotional.”
George said her sister has also volunteered at Daffodil Place and this led her to doing the same.
Supporting the Daffodil Campaign brings society one step closer to preventing cancer, detecting it earlier, improving treatments and helping Canadians live longer, healthier lives
Since the 1950s, bright yellow daffodils have arrived in communities across Canada to mark the beginning of Daffodil Month.
To this day, the daffodil continues to symbolize strength and courage in the fight against cancer.
Money raised through flower sales helps people living with cancer and funds life-saving research, information and support services.