Daffodil Days
Flower sales raise cancer funds

by Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 01/98) - Distractions such as the Arctic Winter Games, Caribou Carnival and spring break are behind us.

Now Yellowknifers can turn thoughts to the 10th annual Canadian Cancer Society daffodil sale April 3 and 4 at the Centre Square Mall.

"We're hoping people will cash in and buy in advance so then we don't have to worry about selling them all on one day," Cancer Society staffer Rosella Stoesz said.

Still, Northerners tend to do things at the last minute, she said.

The Yellowknife branch of the society bought 45 cases of 40 cut bunches, so there are about 2,250 eight-blossom bunches to sell for $5 each.

"Our flower sales are much more important to us as a Cancer Society unit than some of the units in the South," Stoesz said, "because there's so much more availability of that kind of thing in Peace River, Lethbridge or Calgary."

With men having a 41.2 per cent chance of developing some kind of cancer, and women having a 35.5 per cent chance, many volunteers are helping the society raise money because they have lost loved ones or are in recovery themselves.

"I lost my father 13 and a half years ago (to bone-marrow cancer) and shortly after that we lost his mother to (bowel) cancer," said Manuela Keenan, who co-owns Flowers by Manuela with her husband Jim.

"Ever since, we've been trying to get into the Cancer Society for volunteer work."

Much like many other Yellowknifers, the couple say finding the time to volunteer is difficult during the year.

But for the Keenans, daffodil days are ideal as they are able to donate the use of their time and store.

Keenan stressed they make no money off their involvement.

"They bring in their own flowers from their own suppliers. It's got nothing to do with me other than that I'm donating everything in the store."

Previously the cancer society sold flowers out of the back of a truck.

Once the flower sale is over, cancer society branches start door-to-door campaigns.

The Yellowknife campaign will get under way just after Easter.

Unlike the flower campaign, initial costs are not a concern as all canvassers are volunteers.

"We're always looking for volunteers, even if not only for this campaign but maybe for future ones as we hope they stick around," Stoesz said.

Because Yellowknife is more transient than most Canadian centres, there is a high turnover of volunteers, according to Stoesz.

One possible future fundraising campaign involves police officers. As a spinoff from some southern campaigns for which police officers shave their heads both for funds and to give confidence to children with cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

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