Tuesday 23 October 2018

Daffodil Day launch hears 40,000 people expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year

Longstanding Daffodil Volunteer James Gilleran from Navan Road Dublin goes down on bended knee to Miriam O'Callaghan who spoke at the launch of Daffodil Day at CityWest Hotel.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Longstanding Daffodil Volunteer James Gilleran from Navan Road Dublin goes down on bended knee to Miriam O'Callaghan who spoke at the launch of Daffodil Day at CityWest Hotel. Pic Steve Humphreys

Laura Lynott

MORE than €3 million is needed to help the Irish Cancer Society with 40,000 citizens expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.

The Irish Cancer Society launched its Daffodil Day campaign drive to raise funds on March 23.

And families who’d lost loved-ones, along with survivors, shared their stories to inspire increased support.

Alison Hardy’s mother Sylvia, had availed of the charity’s night nurse service when she was dying.  The charity had become such a symbol to the Offaly family, Sylvia’s funeral Mass was decorated with daffodils .

“I was very close to mum, we were best friends and did everything together,” Alison said.

“It was very hard for her, she always kept the bright side outside but on the day she was told, she went to bed crying.”

The night nurse had assisted Sylvia with coming to terms with her impending death when she was unable to talk about cancer or death to her family.

Sylvia’s widower John said: “It was very important to have Sylvia at home.  When the nurse arrived, it was someone to talk to about her worries. The nurse passed all this information on to us, which helped.

Longstanding Daffodil Volunteer James Gilleran from Navan Road Dublin pictured alongside Cancer Survivor Stephanie Powell from Newbridge Co Kildare at the launch of Daffodil Day at CityWest Hotel.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Longstanding Daffodil Volunteer James Gilleran from Navan Road Dublin pictured alongside Cancer Survivor Stephanie Powell from Newbridge Co Kildare at the launch of Daffodil Day at CityWest Hotel. Pic Steve Humphreys

“People say ‘how do you get through it?’.  You don’t get through cancer, you get dragged through it and you can’t believe it’s happening.”

Former Fianna Fail senator, Averil Power, the newly installed Irish Cancer Society chief executive, gave an emotional speech citing her own personal experience.

"My grandmother passed away just after Christmas and one of the things that meant so much was having the support of the Irish Cancer Society," Ms Power said.

The former politician had been scheduled to take up her new role, when her grandmother took ill. "Now more than ever the charity means a lot to me," she said.

"I lost too many family members over the years to cancer.

"I want to make sure I can do what I can. It was bittersweet for me, for my family to avail of the services and I want to thank every one of you and to thank the staff who raised €1.2 million in five years for the night nursing service."

Minister for Health Simon Harris met with cancer survivors and the families who'd lost loved ones, before telling hundreds of volunteers: "You are bringing a light into their (cancer patients') lives, giving them hope there's a way forward.”

Minister Harris said Ireland had successfully turned the corner and more school girls were receiving the HPV vaccine again after a drop in uptake in 2016.

And Ireland was meanwhile climbing the global rankings by keeping cancer patients living longer.

But the population had to take action to keep fit, reduce their alcohol intake and stop smoking, to cut their chances of getting cancer, he added. 

Minister Harris said the alcohol industry had tried to “stop and block for years” a change in the law but he believed the Public Health Bill, expected to clamp down on the alcohol sector, will “make a real difference.”

Currently 165,000 Irish people are fighting cancer in and the charity expects that with the aging population, this figure will increase. 

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