Daffodil Day

Tracey Sullivan Pharmacy Features Writer

Tautoko Te Ra Daffodil/ Daffodil Day is held on the last Friday of August every year. The beautiful daffodil flower has become an international symbol of hope for people who are affected by cancer diagnosis and treatment. Daffodils are the first flower to bloom in spring, bringing us a sign that the cold, dark winter is behind us and the hope that warmer, lighter days are ahead. The daffodils grown for Daffodil Day help to raise awareness of this day and are a symbol of hope of a new beginning for people with cancer.

Twenty-five thousand Kiwis are diagnosed with cancer each year, which amounts to roughly 71 people per day. The ripple effect of a cancer diagnosis can be large, affecting not only patients but their friends, family and work colleagues.

Funds raised on Daffodil Day support the work of the Cancer Society. The Cancer Society has been around since 1929 with an objective to “minimise the impact of cancer”. It is an independent charity dedicated to “reducing the incidence…of cancer and ensuring cancer care for everyone in New Zealand”.

This organisation provides a wide range of support services to people with cancer, their whānau and caregivers. Specifically, the Cancer Society provides advice, information services and resources on cancer to patients and their families, funds a cancer helpline, provides people with drivers to get them to their treatment appointments, or people to sit with them during their treatment. Funds are used for education, training of volunteers, awareness programmes, and free counselling and psychological services. The Society also advocates for public health policy and provides financial support for research into preventing the cause of cancer and its treatment. The Cancer Society has accommodation close to hospitals in most of New Zealand’s main centres. Many cancer patients in New Zealand need to travel to hospitals in bigger cities in order to access their cancer treatment.

The Cancer Society relies greatly on fundraising events such as Daffodil Day and the Relay for Life as well as a huge number of volunteers. There are over four and a half thousand volunteers across New Zealand that give up their own time for the Cancer Society. These volunteers drive people to appointments, support people at their hospital appointments, help out at fundraising events, bake food for patients and accommodation guests, and help out at the Cancer Society accommodation. Around 8000 volunteers are needed to successfully run Daffodil Day.

My daughter’s school teacher volunteers for Daffodil Day each year and expressed what the day means for her – “I have been volunteering for the Cancer Society for about eight years. My Dad had cancer and we experienced first-hand the services the Cancer Society provide such as support groups, information and general knowledge about how to navigate the health system. My Dad was also an active volunteer for the Cancer Society so when he died it felt fitting to carry on supporting where I can. I help organise the Daffodil Day street appeal in Motueka and we grow daffodils at our home for the Cancer Society. Daffodil Day for me is a busy, happy day with some poignant moments that really make you stop and reflect on why you do it.“

Support Daffodil Day by donating, fundraising as an individual, through your school, business or community group, by volunteering or by buying fresh daffodils on the day.

For more information on Daffodil Day or how you can become a volunteer, visit daffodilday.org.nz.

This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The information contained in the blog and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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