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American Cancer Society Daffodil Days campaign begins

“Celebrate spring… while saving lives” is the slogan for The American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser, Daffodil Days, and interested local businesses, organizations and schools are encouraged to start their campaigns early to raise money for the drive.
“School sales account for a huge portion of our income,” said Maria Brandt, event planner of ACS Blair Unit in Hollidaysburg. “The kids do a fabulous job. Most schools have an assembly to kick off Daffodil Days and then another one to cheer success after it’s over.
“A large majority of our businesses, at least 70% participate in Daffodil Days,” added Brandt.
Completed order forms and payments are due to the ACS Blair Unit in Hollidaysburg by Friday, Feb. 21. The daffodils are scheduled to be delivered Wednesday, March 19 through March 21.
“The daffodil is the first flower of spring. The week of spring is when we ship them,” said Brandt. The flowers are shipped free of charge by UPS the whole way from the state of Washington.
If a business, organization or school is interested in setting up a Daffodils Days campaign, there are three simple steps to follow. First, sell the flowers to friends, family and co-workers and keep a record of it. Next, complete an order form and send payments to ACS Blair Unit by Feb. 21, and last deliver the flowers. For more information contact 695-9511.
“When you ask people what they think of The American Cancer Society, they say Daffodil Days. Everyone associates us with daffodils,” added Brandt.
Some ideas for the use of the daffodils include: decorating the office and cafeteria, brightening the home, sending flowers to a hospital or nursing home, and asking local restaurants, hotels or stores to decorate their businesses with the flowers.
“It represents a sign of life and a sign of hope to ACS,” explained Brandt of why the organization chose the flower as a fundraiser. “They can weather a lot. It’s a symbol to our cancer patients that they can also persevere.”
Interested individuals can buy a single daffodil, a cuddly stuffed bunny and bunch of 10 flowers, a Hope vase and flowers, a bunch of 10 flowers, a patron membership in honor or memory of a loved one, or make a donation to ACS.
Ten locations throughout the area are also scheduled to sell daffodils at their entrances. Some include WalMart, K-Mart, the Blair County Ballpark and the Altoona Hospital gift shop. ACS is looking for a new business sponsor in Tyrone since the closing of Ames.
“They’re selling at the Altoona Curve stadium the first day of spring, Friday the twenty-first. The Curve will offer a free tour of their facility to anyone who purchases a flower that day,” said Brandt.
The donations for the fundraiser are spent in numerous ways.
“Last year we raised $115,000,” said Brandt. 40% of the money goes to research and 60% goes to local care of cancer patients.
According to the pamphlet printed by ACS, 32 Nobel Prize-winning scientists have been funded with the money. ACS grants awarded to Pennsylvania institutions in 2001 totaled over $25 million.
ACS funds prevention programs in health education and Generation Fit, a school-based nutrition program. Every year there is the Great American Smokeout, a famous prevention program to target cigarette smoking in the United States.
The organization teaches the importance of annual mammograms for women and focuses on issues around prostate cancer for men. There are year-round awareness campaigns for screenings of breast, prostate, colon and rectum cancers.
ACS also works to make cancer a priority for lawmakers. Concerns include: smoke-free communities, insurance, protecting cancer survivors from discrimination, and providing access to quality medical care.
The organization provides transportation for patients, education for cancer patients and their families and support groups. Call the toll-free number 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the web site www.cancer.org for information on cancer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It has been 30 years since Daffodils Days began, and the Altoona Hospital is in its ninth year of sponsoring the fundraiser. The U.S. Food Service allows ACS to store the flowers in its cold warehouse, the Frankstown Armory allows the organization to use its facility for processing needs. The Jaffa Shriners deliver the flowers all over Blair County.
“Without the help of the volunteers and sponsors, none of this would be possible,” said Brandt.