As spring approaches, and for those dormant bulbs, which many planted just before the first frost, begin to blossom, there is one flower in particular that holds a special place in millions of hearts across the globe. That flower is the daffodil.Known for flowering early, the daffodil, like many other spring flowers, adds to the vibrant colors of the season. The daffodil, however, offers a light of hope and promise unlike any other spring bloom.
In the 1950s the daffodil became a significant representation of the Canadian Cancer Society, thanks to a group of Toronto volunteers who neatly arranged the beautiful flowers as centerpieces on their tea tables. The daffodils brought such joy to those participants, both survivors and fighters for a cure, that in November of 2000, the Canadian Cancer Society launched a new logo, the quaint yet vibrant yellow daffodil.
This year during the month of February at West Chester University, order forms will begin to circulate in and around the campus, in hopes of far surpassing the number of flowers sent in past years. On March 26, those hopes will be distributed in the form of beautiful vivacious bunches of daffodils.
“West Chester University has been a participant of the Daffodil Days Campaign for many years,” Maggie Tripp, director of the office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, said. “We encourage residence halls and student groups to get involved.”
Over the past three years, through student body and employee participation, orders have increased tremendously. Volunteers take orders in buildings and departments around campus and promote the event by making it more accessible to those interested in donating.
However, the Canadian Cancer Society is not the only organization with this brilliant symbol of hope tied to its name. The American Cancer Society is also accredited in the founding of Daffodil Days. It is the society’s oldest and most beloved fundraising program.
“Daffodil Days has empowered people to make a difference in the fight against cancer by raising funds and awareness to help beat the disease, according to the American Cancer Society, ACS, Web site, www.cancer.org. Daffodil Days involves offering daffodils every spring to donors in appreciation for their contributions, but it is about more than just giving beautiful flowers – it is everyone’s opportunity to share hope for a world free of cancer.”
Last year alone, Pennsylvania raised more than $4 million during the Daffodil Days campaign. WCU assisted by raising $4,227. The American Cancer Society of Chester County recognized the university with a Gold Level Award.
“A sea of yellow was in The Office of Service-Learning as more than 300 bunches, mini-pots and vases were sorted for delivery by student volunteers,” Tripp said.
However, it is more than just daffodils that drive the campaign to success. For a mere $8 donation, a bunch of 10 fresh-cut daffodils may be sent.
Also, this year is the first year of the Bea R. Hope Bear, which is the fourth bear in the Boyds Bear Collection designed exclusively for the ACS. Vases of Hope with the Daffodil Days design engraved in it, overflowing with a gorgeous bunch of daffodils may also be ordered for the small donation of $15.
A retired West Chester University Administrator and two time breast cancer survivor spoke to coordinators of the Daffodil Days event here on campus, expressing how she has personally seen the money that aids in cancer education and research through the Daffodil Days campaign to fight cancer.
Just as those fighting for hope or those rejoicing in it as they defeat cancer, the daffodil fights. The daffodil excretes a poisonous alkaloid which keeps deer and other pests from devouring it, as they do to other spring flowers. As the daffodil blooms, so does the hope its flower embodies.
The daffodil, a symbol of hope, is an inspiration to all. The ACS and the CCS along with consistent support from educational institutions such as WCU, further that hope each year as the Daffodil Days campaign leads to a greater prevention and cure.
Jessica Todd-Marrone is a third-year student majoring in international relations with minors in journalism and Spanish. She can be reached at JT608859@wcupa.edu.