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Daffodil Days, usually held in March, raise funds and awareness for cancer using this cheerful symbol. Cancer kills more than 600,000 Americans each year and affects countless lives. Since the 1950s, the daffodil has served as a symbol of hope and resilience in the face of cancer. The bright flower represents the hard work done by researchers and doctors working to find a cure and improve treatment for cancer of all types. Beginning with the Canadian Cancer Society, cancer research organizations around the world have used the daffodil as an emblem of hope and resilience in the face of disease.
History of Daffodil Day
Cancer refers to a group of related diseases in which the body’s cells start to divide uncontrollably, spreading into surrounding tissue and causing damage. Cancer can occur in almost any part of the body. When cells multiply without stopping, they can form growths, or what we know as tumors. Malignant tumors, those that spread into the rest of the body, pose a danger as they overtake the normal functions of organs. Nearly four in 10 people will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives, so it’s important for everyone to be aware of the potential risks and preventive measures.
The Canadian Cancer Society first started using daffodils, the first flower of spring, as a symbol at their events in 1956, when volunteers handed out the brightly colored flowers to raise awareness. “Daffodil Days” became a popular fundraiser, with volunteers selling daffodils to raise funds for cancer research. Since then, other organizations including the American Cancer Society have also adopted the daffodil as a totem. Advocates use Daffodil Days as a chance to spread awareness about cancer and help people live longer and healthier lives.
In 2021, the American Cancer Society held their Daffodil Days in February, when people could purchase bunches of daffodils for themselves or as gifts for cancer patients in hospitals and treatment centers. The flowers were delivered at the end of March. The American Cancer Society works to provide information to cancer patients, fund research for the development of life-saving medicines and procedures, pass legislation that improves access to care, and advocate for cancer patients and their families in many more ways.
Daffodil Day timeline
Although the word cancer isn't used, an ancient Egyptian textbook on surgery describes tumors being removed by cauterization.
The American Society for the Control of Cancer is formed in New York City, aimed at raising awareness and destigmatizing a disease that, at that time, couldn't even be mentioned in public.
The Canadian Cancer Society starts selling daffodils as a fundraiser — flowers can be purchased for yourself or as a donation to hospital patients.
The Canadian Cancer Society formally changes its logo to incorporate the symbolic flower.
Daffodil Day FAQs
Is there a vaccine for cancer?
There is no vaccine for cancer, but some vaccines for viruses that cause cancer, like HPV and hepatitis B, do exist. Getting vaccinated against these viruses can protect you against diseases that can lead to cancer.
Is cancer contagious?
No. Unlike a cold or an STI, cancer cannot be transmitted from person to person. However, cancer can be inherited from a parent, although this is rare.
Why do people get cancer?
Cancer can happen to anyone at any age, but by avoiding certain behavioral and environmental risk factors, you can decrease your risk.
How to Celebrate Daffodil Day
Buy some daffodils
Buy a bunch of daffodils for yourself, a friend or loved one, or to send to a hospital. You’ll be sure to brighten someone’s day and contribute to a good cause!
Educate yourself about cancer
Knowing your own health risks and family history can help you take proactive steps to prevent cancer and keep yourself healthy.
Contact a local cancer awareness organization to see if you can help out with their events, visit patients, or otherwise volunteer your time to the fight against cancer.
5 Interesting Facts About Cancer Treatment
Almost half of cancer cases are preventable
Research shows that 30–50% of cancer diagnoses could be prevented with healthier lifestyle choices.
Cancer is more and more survivable
More than 2/3 of Americans diagnosed with cancer survive for at least 5 years after their diagnosis.
Chemotherapy isn't just for cancer
Chemotherapy is commonly known as a cancer treatment that aggressively attacks cancer cells, but it can also help in treating other diseases that affect your immune system like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Smoking tobacco accounts for 30% of all cancer deaths, making it the biggest preventable cause of cancer.
Nutrition is paramount
The World Health Organization attributes almost 70% of cancers worldwide to a lack of a proper diet.
Why Daffodil Day Is Important
It raises funds and awareness for cancer research
Daffodil Day events not only raise money but also spread important knowledge about cancer prevention and treatment.
It reminds us to create healthy habits
Although cancer can strike anyone, maintaining healthy habits like a nutritious diet, exercise, and avoiding smoking can help you lower your risk of certain cancers.
It promotes important public policy
Cancer research and treatment are expensive. Lobbying for increased funding to advocacy groups and treatment centers can help speed up the development of treatments and support patients and their families.
Daffodil Day dates