00:00 Saturday 13 March 2010  Written by Gilda Howard

Irish Cancer Society sets target of E4 million for this years Daffodil Day

THIS year's Daffodil Day will take place across the country on Friday, March 26, and this is such a worthy cause that right now is the time to write it down in your diary, and if you have time on your hands on that day, the Cancer Society will be delighted with you, as they are calling 'budding' Daffodil Day volunteers from Cork and the county to come out and collect on Friday, March 26, at a location convenient to them. For further information on becoming a volunteer just call the Daffodil Day office on callsave 1850 60 60 60.

Speaking in advance of Daffodil Day 2010, John McCormack, CEO, Irish Cancer Society, said: 'Everyone has been touched by cancer either directly or indirectly and unfortunately the cancer incidence is growing all the time. Latest data shows that 3,113 people were diagnosed with cancer in Cork in 2008 and this year we expect that there will be up to 30,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed across the country. Cancer will affect one in three people during the course of their lifetime; however, more people are surviving cancer due to more people being diagnosed at an earlier stage and advances in treatment.'

He continued to say that 'we have set a target of £4 million for Daffodil Day 20l0 and all monies raised will go to fund free and direct patient care services for people with cancer and their families, including the provision of the Cancer Information Service (which includes the National Cancer Helpline Freefone 1800 200 700), the funding of hospital-based Oncology Liaison Nurses, counselling and financial aid of cancer patients and the provision of a nationwide night nursing service for people at the end stages of their cancer illness.'

In 2009, the Irish Cancer Society provided the following direct patient care services which well deserve to be highlighted:

The specialist cancer nurse supported 19,331 callers to the National Cancer Helpline in 2009, which was an increase from 16,500 calls in 2008. And 1,761 of these calls were from people in Co. Cork in 2009.

They also provided nearly 7,000 nights of care to almost 1,700 families last year, which was an increase up from 5,700 nights in 2008. There were 606 nights of care provided in Co. Cork in 2009 at a cost of £2l2, 000.

£304,157 was allocated to cancer homecare teams, who work in the community to provide specialist palliative care to patients with cancer in their own homes across the country. These nurses work with local family doctors and public health nurses, bringing vital care and support. Out of this fund of £304,000, £9,572 was allocated to homecare palliative care teams in Co. Cork.

They provided financial aid to 1,260 people in 2009 (up from 1,031 people in 2008) to the value of over £700,000. £61,618 worth of financial aid was provided to people in Co. Cork in 2009.

They provided over 1,600 sessions of counselling free of charge to over 700 families across the country.

They also funded 18 Oncology Liaison Nurses in hospitals across the country. Two of these nurses are in Cork-based hospitals (South Infirmary and Cork University Hospital).

They distributed over 49, 882 cancer information booklets and factsheets to people concerned about cancer in Cork in 2009.

CENTRES

In addition to continuing to fund and grow the above services, the Irish Cancer Society plans to establish up to five more Daffodil Centres in a range of hospitals, including designated cancer care centres, regional hospitals and private hospitals in 2010. Daffodil Centres are an extension of the Irish Cancer Society's existing Cancer Information Service (which includes the National Cancer Helpline, freefone 1800 200 700) and will be located strategically within the hospital to make them visible and accessible.

An experienced cancer nurse, funded by the Society, will run these centres and will be supported by trained volunteers. The nurse and volunteers will address the information and support needs of those concerned about cancer, through listening, providing information and advice and accompanying people to their appointments or treatments as necessary. This follows the completion of a pilot Daffodil Centre which opened in Galway University Hospital in July 2009.

This is all a far cry from what took place going back twenty-odd years ago (perhaps less) when there was no one there to offer any help whatsoever and sometimes not even utter a kind word. Now when I say this I don't mean the nurses but certainly one or two of the medical men that I encountered were cold as ice. At a time like that when one is so vulnerable you will hang on and remember any little kind word or deed and listen carefully, wishing in some way to get a little hope and consolation to help the patient and their loved ones to get through such a difficult time. I am so delighted to think there is so much being done to help with the emotional side, as well as the physical side, for cancer patients today. As far as I am concerned the emotional side is every bit as important and I am sure it plays a big part in helping patients to overcome the disease.

In fact, we should all be very grateful to those young girls who chose Cancer Nursing as a career and lately RTÉ mewsreader Aengus MacGrianna was pictured with nurses Maria O'Sullivan from Courtmacsherry, Bernie Barrett from Glounthaune and Norma Dowling from Kanturk, who celebrated their graduation from the Graduate Diploma in Cancer Nursing at UCD. This is Ireland's longest-established specialist course in cancer nursing and it has been part-funded by the Irish Cancer Society's Daffodil Day, so I am sure you will all join me in congratulating them on a very fulfilling career.

Apart from Daffodil Day there are also other fundraising events for cancer and a really healthy campaign comes from Derval O'Rourke who appeals to runners from Co. Cork to go the distance and give cancer a run for its money, so she recently launched a 'Run 4 Life' marathon programme, which is a fundraising campaign on behalf of the Irish Cancer Society.

Derval is appealing to people in Cork to sign up to run, jog or walk a marathon or mini-marathon in 2010. Run 4 Life is a positive programme for individuals who want to reduce their risk of developing cancer through exercise, healthy eating and positive lifestyle decisions.

Speaking at the launch, Derval said: 'Running a marathon is a great challenge that requires dedication and perseverance but when you raise funds for cancer along the way, it shows you care for others and for your own health too. That is why I am appealing to other runners to set themselves a challenge in 2010 and give cancer a run for its money.'

The Irish Cancer Society is appealing to runners to take part in any of the following marathons in 2010:

Paris on April 11; Boston on April 19; London on April 25; Cork on June 7; Berlin on September 26; Dublin on October 25 and New York on November 7.

Well, with such an exciting number of cities to choose from this makes the fundraising marathon a very attractive proposition and I would nearly join the queue myself, complete with botched hip and knee!

FASHION

Another little bit of news before signing off is that Fashion Targets Breast Cancer is now in its 6th year raising awareness and much-needed funds for Breast Cancer Campaign, in aid of the Irish Cancer Society and Europa Donna Ireland. This particular campaign specifically focuses on early detection of breast cancer amongst young women in Ireland. In the last few years, Elle Macpherson, Helena Christensen, Erin O'Connor and so many more have all been involved with this campaign.

This year, New York Designer Tory Burch has designed the bag and is coming to Brown Thomas Dublin to launch the campaign on Friday, March 19. Tory is a sophisticated and stylish New Yorker, who has three young boys and has enjoyed fantastic success with her label since she set it up in 2004. In fact, when she appeared on Oprah in 2005 as the 'next big thing in fashion', her website received 8 million hits the following day, catapulting her collections into the mainstream! Her clients include all the top film stars and celebs, and for another little bit of social gossip, her parents also have a fascinating background. Her mum, Reva Robinson is a former actress who dated Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando, and her father, Buddy Robinson, was a wealthy investor who dated Grace Kelly and Joan Bennett!

Towards the end of March, keep an eye out for this gorgeous bag - it will be selling in Brown Thomas Cork - and remember, apart from it being very fashionable and quite stunning, you are also helping a great cause.

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