mick igrpfn · 2021-10-04

Petal pushers

Volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society will be out and about in the coming weeks as they gear up for Daffodil Month.

Phyllis Clapp and Donna Burton, co-conveners for the Midland/Penetanguishene fundraiser, have been living, breathing and sometimes even sleeping the campaign for the past few months.

Although they agreed it has been a challenge, heading up the campaign for the first time will be worth it in the end.

“I think Phyllis has been living it 24 hours a day,” said Burton. “It seems to be our topic of conversation no matter if we are at a card game or bowling. It stays with us.”

While money from most cancer-related fundraisers goes to research, proceeds from this campaign will go half toward research and half toward administration, drivers and support groups, noted Burton, who has been a cancer society volunteer for 18 years.

“Everything raised here goes to our people,” she emphasized.

Last year, the local branch’s volunteer drivers drove 344 clients to cancer-related appointments, covering 275,023 kilometres at a cost of more than $96,000.

Clapp, a volunteer for two years, said knowing the money raised stays in the community is what makes this fundraiser so important.

“About four years ago, I had to take my husband to Princess Margaret (Hospital in Toronto),” she recalled. “I didn’t know anything about the fact that there were drivers available.”

While their reasons for volunteering may be different, both women have found themselves drawn to the cancer society.

“Right from the time I was a child … my dad helped with cancer here in Midland,” said Burton. “It was embedded in my being.”

“I lost my dad to cancer,” added Clapp. “I wanted to help raise money so that we can help in some way.”

Daffodil sales brought in almost $3 million for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario in 2008 – with the local campaign raising $23,000.

Burton and Clapp are hoping to increase that to $30,000 this year.

Volunteers have fanned out in the community taking orders for the flowers. They sell for $7 a bunch or $12 for two bunches, with delivery scheduled for April 3.

Daffodil sales will also be taking place in local stores, banks and malls on April 3 and 4.