Human Flower Project
Saturday, February 26, 2005
More Than a Burst of Yellow
Daffodil deliveries across North America will soon begin, a human flower project to fight disease.
If you don’t know someone with cancer, you need to get out more. Nearly all of us have experienced this disease—first hand or through a friend.
Maybe that’s why the Canadian Cancer Society decided to make the friendliest of flowers its emblem. Daffodil Days, the organization’s big spring fundraiser, begins at staggered spring times across North America (in July in Australia). It depends, of course, on when the daffodils come into bloom.
Boston’s chapter of the American Cancer Society has been taking orders for March 21 delivery. The project is estimated to raise $1.4 million this year in Massachusetts alone. Daffodil Days in the U.S. Midwest will make deliveries sooner. Bouquets start at $7 a bunch there. Since the custom began in the U.S., it’s raised $176 million “for research, education, advocacy, and patient service programs.”
The philanthropic flower custom began in Toronto in the 1950s.
“A group of Canadian Cancer Society volunteers organized a fundraising tea and decided to decorate the tables with daffodils. The bright, cheerful flowers created an atmosphere that seemed to radiate hope and faith that cancer could be beaten. Soon these gatherings came to be known as Daffodil Teas.
“Jackie Brockie, a volunteer who worked at Eaton’s (a large department store), supported the idea of Daffodil Teas and arranged for Lady Eaton to host a Tea in the store. Seven hundred women attended.
“Another volunteer, Lane Knight, arranged for restaurants to give part of their receipts to the Society on the opening day of the residential canvass in 1956. Canadian Cancer Society volunteers were on hand at local restaurants to give patrons a daffodil when they paid for their meals as a token of appreciation. The sight of so many daffodils being carried around the city created interest. When some recipients tried to pay for the flowers or make donations, the Society quickly realized that the sale of daffodils would generate additional revenue.”
Nothing like flowers to turn heads and, in this case, raise consciousness!
“Today the Canadian Cancer Society is the world’s largest purchaser of daffodils and the growers in British Columbia must arrange their plantings to accommodate the Society’s spring demand for live blooms.”
To order your daffodils and find out more contact the Canadian Cancer Society, or in the U.S. the American Cancer Society (for you phone-people: 1-800-ACS-2345). You may order flowers for yourself or for a friend, or arrange to have daffodils sent anonymously to a cancer patient in your vicinity.