Daffodil Day: 'We are facing extraordinary times... That is especially true for cancer patients and survivors'

Daffodil Day: 'We are facing extraordinary times... That is especially true for cancer patients and survivors'

A young Cork mother and two-time cancer survivor says she is overwhelmed with the huge outpouring of support for the Irish Cancer Society's Digital Daffodil Day.

The charity asked people to celebrate Daffodil Day online after deciding to cancel street collections and other events because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shannen Joyce, 25, from Youghal, Co Cork, received a stem cell transplant four months ago and is currently self-isolating with her partner and daughter, Róisín.

"To see so many digital daffodils on my social media feed and to read the warm words that have flooded in means the world," said Shannen.

As a country, we are facing extraordinary times. That is especially true for cancer patients and survivors like me.

In extraordinary times like these, said Shannen, people could make an extraordinary effort to support each other.

Shannen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2014 and the cancer re-occurred almost five years later.

The Irish Cancer Society receives 3% of its funding from the State so it must raise €20m each year and Daffodil Day normally raises €4m of that.

Chief executive of the charity, Averil Power, said Daffodil Day was their single largest fundraiser every year and it helps to pay for free nursing, counselling and transport services.

"This year we also have the added expense of funding new and expanded services to help cancer patients cope during the Covid-19 crisis," said Ms Power.

"While the amount of money we make on this Daffodil Day will most certainly be a fraction of what we would normally raise, it's heartening to see that many people do care."

Across Ireland, people used safe ways to raise funds including solo walks or virtual events. Venues streamed events as online fundraisers and there were dozens of offers from companies offering to help in various ways.

Ms Power said that at one point their website was unable to cope with the number of people trying to donate at the one time.

"Each year more than 40,000 people are diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, this will remain the case even with the coronavirus outbreak.

What's more is there are approximately 200,000 people in Ireland living with and beyond cancer, many of whom are at a higher risk of developing a serious illness if they catch coronavirus.

Ms Power said the charity is determined to be there for everyone who needs it.: "But as only 3% of our funding comes from the State, we can't do that without the support of the public so please help by donating what you can on cancer.ie."

The charity's official sponsors, Boots Ireland, is also continuing to sell pins in stores throughout the country.

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