Volunteer spirit part of Daffodil Day

Colour . . . Daffodil Day was introduced as the Cancer Society's major street appeal in 1990. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES

Daffodils mark the return of spring and new life.

The daffodil was first used in Toronto, Canada, in the 1950s during volunteer organised coffee mornings to raise money for cancer awareness and research. Guests were given a daffodil as a ‘‘thank you’’ for their support.

The daffodil eventually replaced the sword which had been the Cancer Society emblem since establishment in 1929.

Daffodil Day was introduced as the Cancer Society’s major street appeal in 1990.

The Cancer Society organisation was formed in 1929 when the New Zealand branch of the British Empire Cancer Campaign opened in Wellington with the ‘‘conquest of cancer’’ as its mission.

The plan was to have the headquarters in Wellington and establish regional divisions, where practicable and desirable, to carry out the aims of the society to provide consultation clinics for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and begin and maintain research into the causes of cancer in New Zealand.

By 1963 there were six regional divisions and the name of the society was changed to Cancer Society of New Zealand Incorporated.

The objective of the organisation became ‘‘to minimise the impact of cancer’’.

In 1977 the national council appointed a part time administrator, followed by the appointment of Terry A Ward, as executive director.

An office was established in Wellington in 1981. National education programmes, mainly in the SunSmart area, commenced in 1980 with a ‘‘smart cookies don’t burn campaign’’.

The first fundraising campaign Cancer Alert was held in 1981 and raised $2.5 million for general and research purposes.

In 1996 national office came into being as we know it today, funded by levies from the six divisions.

The Cancer Society of New Zealand is currently the leading non-government organisation dedicated to reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and ensuring cancer care for everyone in New Zealand. It is an independent charity.

The society continues to have a national office in Wellington, six autonomous regional divisions, and centres within the divisions.

The focus is on locally-funded provision of support services, health promotion and information appropriate to the people in each area.

The society is a pro-active advocate for cancer patients in New Zealand, providing a voice on all kinds of issues including, screening, detection and treatment.

Volunteer enthusiasm has always been a key part of Daffodil Day’s success, especially locally.

In New Zealand, from the first group of Feilding volunteers who picked daffodils from local paddocks to exchange for a donation, to the thousands who now take part every year over the country on the last Friday in August, Daffodil Day is a near and dear topic to the hearts of many.

Information sourced from cancer.org.nz