bY HELEN CARPENTER, NEW SOUTH WALES - BASED MEDIA STRINGER
People the world over recognise the daffodil as the flower that represents hope, rebirth and new beginnings. The daffodil is recognised internationally as the symbol of the Cancer Council in countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England. The daffodil emblem is used to raise awareness and critical funds in the research and fight against Cancer.
Cancer will inevitably affect everyone at some stage throughout their life. Cancer can strike at anytime and at any age, it’s not just a disease contracted by the elderly.
I personally lost my grandparents, step dad, a friend’s three-year-old daughter and friends to cancer, and each one was a different type of cancer.
Did you know that there are over 200 different types of cancer and that cancer can occur anywhere in the body?
As the 23rd of August approaches every year my thoughts return to the memory of these people and those around me that are battling cancer. Every year, I do my bit be it small, to purchase a daffodil pin to remember those that lost their battle and to support those that are battling Cancer.
Daffodil Day was first started in England by the Marie Curie nurses in 1986. The fundraising initiative raises awareness through the sale of daffodil pins in memory of family and friends. Over time it has grown and is now adopted by many Cancer Councils in multiple countries.
The humble daffodil was first introduced into gardens in 300BC by Greek botanist and philosopher Theophrastus. They were then bought to England by the Romans as they thought that the sap from the daffodil had healing powers. In the early 1600’s daffodils were widely planted throughout domestic gardens and also became a symbol of the Resurrection throughout the Christian world, hence they are used as the floral symbol of Easter and the Re-birth of Christ. Daffodils herald the start to spring in Australia as they are often the first flowers to flower. The daffodil is also the floral symbol for the month of March and is also known to symbolise friendship, chivalry, respect, modesty and faithfulness.
Scientists have recently discovered that the daffodil has a natural anti-cancer compound called haemantamine and the daffodil flower, leaves and bulbs have long been used in the production of medicine to treat whopping cough, colds and asthma.