April is Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month

02 April 2012

Manitoba -

Every three minutes, another Canadian hears the words “you have cancer” for the first time, and the Canadian Cancer Society wants them to know that they are not alone.

Vanessa Kunderman was only 16 when she heard those words. “I was scared and I didn’t know what the future had in store for me,’’ the 23-year-old recalls.  It was not her first brush with cancer.  Just a few years earlier, Vanessa, her sister and mother watched as another form of cancer – melanoma – took her father away.

“I think about him and what we’ve all missed together and it gave me determination to beat cancer, not just for me but for him and my family,’’ she says. “I want to do everything I can to help others avoid facing what my family has.”

That’s why Vanessa will join with millions of Canadians in support of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month this April by donning a bright yellow daffodil pin. The lapel pins are symbols of hope and determination; they show support for people battling cancer and honour those who have been lost to the disease. It’s a way for everyone to come together in April and fight back against ALL cancers.

“United by the daffodil, we will show people living with cancer that they don’t have to face cancer alone, and we won’t give up until all forms of the disease are defeated,” said Mark McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Manitoba Division.  “To some, the daffodil is just a flower – to the Cancer Society it is a symbol of strength and courage. It says we will not give up, we will fight back, we will beat cancer.”

Daffodil pins are available for a small donation at hundreds of locations in more than 75 communities throughout Manitoba including all TD Canada Trust, Mac’s, Super Thrifty, and Stella’s locations. To find a pin location near you or to make a donation visit fightback.ca

Her cancer in remission since 2006, Vanessa will wear her pin a as a sign of her determination to beat cancer but also in memory and honour.  “I’d like to think my dad would be proud of my battle and my accomplishment,” she says. “I’ll be wearing my daffodil pin for myself, for my father, and especially for my mother, who had to experience cancer twice even though she was never diagnosed.”

There has never been a better time to fight back against cancer.  While progress is being made and people are twice as likely to survive a cancer diagnosis today as they were in the 1960s, the disease will touch more than 60,000 Manitoba families this year.  Most of these will be cancer scares – suspected cases that turn out not be to cancer – but for 6,100 families, it will be a cancer diagnosis.  Every day, three families in Manitoba will lose a loved one to cancer.

The Cancer Society is encouraging all Manitobans in April, not only to wear a daffodil but also to consider doing something special on April 27, 2012 – Daffodil Day – for those living with cancer or to further the fight against cancer.

“We’re all touched by cancer whether in our family, or at work or in our social circles,’’ McDonald said. “We’re asking Manitobans to think about these people and do something – whether it’s telling a loved one or friend with cancer that you are thinking about them, running an errand for them, cleaning their house for them, babysitting for them or cooking a special meal for them.  It’s really up to you; just do something to make a difference.”

Throughout Daffodil Month and especially on Daffodil Day, people can make a difference by:

  • Telling a loved one or friend with cancer that they are loved; let them know about the Society’s information and support programs.
  • Donating to the Cancer Society when a volunteer canvasser knocks on their door.
  • Signing up as a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society to can make a difference in the fight against ALL cancers.
  • Joining a Relay For Life team or sponsoring somebody who is participating.

The Society wants Manitobans to tell them what they are doing to support cancer patients and who they are wearing their Daffodil Pin for by visiting cancer.ca or on facebook at facebook.com/CCSManitoba.

In Vanessa’s story, it was her training as a competitive vocalist that saved her life.  She was very tuned in to her body, and when she started having trouble breathing, her vocal coach encouraged her to see a doctor to find out what was going on.

“It turned out I had one lung completely collapsed and another operating at only 25 per cent, and my entire chest cavity was filled with a tumour,” she said. “I was in for one heck of a fight.”

“But I’m happy to report my cancer has been in remission since 2006, and now I’m lending my voice to the cause, volunteering with the Cancer Society to help others with cancer in Manitoba.  If we all do our part, more and more people can, like me, keep on singing.”

Media can interview Vanessa Kunderman, cancer survivor, or Heidi Struck, Daffodil Pin Campaign Manager by telephone by request.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Jason Permanand

Communications Manager

Canadian Cancer Society

Manitoba

Phone: 204-990-4310