Call for volunteers and donations as Irish Cancer Society gears up for Daffodil Day

Popular Daffodil Day volunteer Brendan Coffey.

Popular Daffodil Day volunteer Brendan Coffey.

With this year’s Daffodil Day now just weeks away, the Irish Cancer Society is calling for volunteers to help with the annual fundraising event.

Daffodil Day will take place across the country this year on Friday March 25. The Galway launch of Daffodil Day will take place at 5.30pm next Monday in the Salthill Hotel.

The launch will be attended by the society’s Galway volunteers, including chairwoman of the Galway committee Ann Flanagan, and will feature talks from the society’s CEO, John McCormack, nurses services manager Joan Kelly, and the society’s community fundraiser for Connacht, Justin McDermott. Mayor of Galway Michael Crowe will also be in attendance.

The Irish Cancer Society is calling on anyone from Galway and surrounding counties with time on their hands to come out and collect on the day at a location convenient to them. Further information on becoming a volunteer is available from the Daffodil Day office on CallSave 1850 60 60 60.

“Ireland’s cancer rate is one of the highest in the world,” John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, said this week. “One in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetime and it is estimated that by 2020, 40,000 new cases will be diagnosed. Latest data from the National Cancer Registry shows that 29,775 people were diagnosed with cancer in Ireland in 2009, 1,726 of these people were from Galway. These stark figures mean that there is an ever increasing demand for the direct patient care services provided by the Irish Cancer Society.

“We really need you, our wonderful volunteers, to make a great push this year,” Mr McCormack added. “Effective cancer care for patients and families has to continue during these difficult economic times. Times are hard, so we must work harder to ensure that our vital patient services are not compromised, but we know that some people might not be able to give as much this year. We want the Irish public to know that we appreciate and need every donation, no matter what size, because cancer is on the rise and we need every euro raised on Daffodil Day to help the thousands of people diagnosed every year. So if you have some time to spare, come out, join our bunch, and collect with us. We need your help and I can guarantee you will really enjoy being involved.”

Last year €3.3m was raised for Daffodil Day, with a whopping €153,086 of this coming from people in Co Galway. In 2010 the Irish Cancer Society provided a wide direct patient care services in Galway. The society’s specialist cancer nurses supported 21,206 callers to the National Cancer Helpline (Freefone 1800 200 700 ), an increase from 19,331 calls in 2009. A total of 573 of these calls were from people in Co Galway in 2010.

The society provided 7,187 nights of care to almost 2,058 families in 2010, which was an increase from 7,000 nights in 2009. Some 366 nights of care were provided in Co Galway at a cost of €128,100 in 2010.

The Irish Cancer Society also funded 16 oncology liaison nurses in hospitals across the country last year, to the value of €497,943. It provided financial aid to the value of more than €909,512. A total €61,650 in financial aid was provided to people in Co Galway in 2010.

Travel2Care grants of €188,485 were administered to patients across Ireland, with €5,380 specifically going to patients in Co Galway. Travel2Care is a transportation assistance fund which has been made available by the National Cancer Control Programme to patients travelling for cancer treatment and is administered by the Irish Cancer Society.

The society distributed 210,369 cancer information booklets and factsheets to people concerned about cancer across the country in 2010, of these 17,013 booklets and factsheets were sent to people in Co Galway.

It funded two Daffodil centres; one in Galway University Hospital and one in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. The Daffodil centres are an extension of the society’s Cancer Information Service and are there to provide information, advice, and support to all those concerned or affected by cancer in the hospital. The Irish Cancer Society wants to see these centres established in hospitals across Ireland and is currently in discussions with five other hospitals about opening more Daffodil centres in 2011.

The society invested €1.5 million in research projects in 2010, including a research scholarship to Lisa Vincenz at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The lifetime value of this research scholarship is €120,000. The aim of Ms Vincenz’s research is to find out how some cancer cells can be protected from chemotherapy drugs. By finding strategies to overcome these protective mechanisms, researchers may be able to make cancer cells respond to chemotherapy.

The Irish Cancer Society will hold a number of fundraising events in Galway in advance of Daffodil Day on March 25. These include Daffodil Day coffee mornings taking place in SuperValu, Oranmore Centre, Oranmore, on Friday March 11 all day, and in The Ardilaun hotel, Taylor’s Hill, Galway, on Monday March 21 from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Dell is supporting Daffodil Day for the next three years through employee led fundraising initiatives and by providing much needed financial support to help the society promote its ‘Our Company Cares’ and Daffodil Day campaigns.

Further information on becoming a volunteer is available from the Daffodil Day team on CallSave 1850 60 60 60.

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