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American Cancewr Society's Daffodil Days brings hope, joy

Raises funds while brightening patients’ lives
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It’s funny how a little dab of yellow can brighten someone’s world on even the darkest of days. But that’s what American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days are all about – about bringing brightness and hope to those experiencing the potentially devastating effects of cancer. Daffodil Days is one of American Cancer Society’s oldest fundraisers. The goal of the program, according to Daffodil Days’ South Placer Chairperson Laura Tyrrell, is twofold; to earn funds for cancer research and local programs, and to deliver anonymous bouquets, also known as “gifts of hope,” to as many cancer patients as possible. For Tyrrell, Daffodil Days is personal. “I became aware of Daffodil Days when I was a cancer patient in 2001,” she said. “I was going through a round of chemotherapy when someone delivered daffodils to me. It made such an impact. I was halfway through my chemo treatments, and was so sick. That delivery was a big lift to my spirits.” Though still recovering, Tyrrell wanted to learn more about the program, and the following spring, she volunteered to deliver gifts of hope to the oncology center where she had been treated. Tyrrell wasted no time recruiting friends to get involved as well. “Laura said, OK, you have to do this – this is the coolest thing ever,” said Tyrrell’s friend Nancy Silva-Sutton. Sutton did get involved, and with a vengeance. Today she is a daffodil coordinator and one of the top fundraisers for the program in Placer County. Tyrrell has been involved with the program for six years now, in spite of being treated for three separate cancers, or perhaps, because of them. Today she gives presentations for area companies, showing employees various Daffodil Days’ products, which include bouquets, with or without vase, and “bear and a bunch,” which includes a collectible Boyd’s bear. But her real focus is the community. “There are some people who want the bouquet on their desk,” she said. But the real excitement for Tyrrell is to see community members donate to the Gifts of Hope campaign. “Last year we sold 1,649 bouquets, and we were able to deliver 750 daffodil bouquets to cancer patients,”she said. Tyrrell, who was the recipient of a treatment in the clinical-trial stage, knows first hand how important cancer research is. She attributes funds raised from Daffodil Days and other American Cancer Society fundraisers, for developing the treatment that recently saved her life. In addition to research, many of the dollars raised in the area from Daffodil Days, stay in the community. According to Tyrrell, local programs funded by Daffodil Days are vital. Programs like Road to Recovery, which coordinates patients’ transportation to treatment, and the Look and Feel Good program, which provides hair dressers and licensed cosmetologists are just a couple of the programs that are available. “Cosmetologists who show women how to apply makeup when they have no eyebrows or eyelashes, and offer free wigs,” Tyrrell said. “This kind of patient support is invaluable.” According to the American Cancer Society, cancer will affect the lives of one in every two men, and one in every three women. “Think about it,” Silva-Sutton said. “Think about how many ladies we know who have had cancer or are having treatment. We can’t go and have chemotherapy for them. But anything I can do to help – help raise funds for the research, and to make the treatment easier, I’ll do it. I can only make so much chicken soup.” Daffodil orders can be placed through Feb. 26 and will be delivered March 16-17. For information on placing an order, or becoming a Daffodil Days coordinator, visit http://daffodil.acsevents.org/sacramento or email Ltyrrell1@gmail.com.