No bed of roses as Taoiseach launches Daffodil Day

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar helped to launch this year's Daffodil Day, but someone wasn't happy about it.

Mr Varadkar called on the public to give generously on Daffodil Day this Friday, March 22, when he was at today's launch along with breast cancer survivor Sarah Murray.

Ms Murray, from Malahide, brought along her children, Sadie (aged 5) and nine-month-old Séan.

While the Taoiseach put a flower into his lapel, little Sean cast a wary eye in his direction.

However, when Mr Varadkar offered little Sean a daffodil, he didn't get the reaction he wanted.

Leo Varadkar launches Daffodil Day

Luckily, Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society, was on hand to calm things down. Sean's mother Sarah is the face of the Daffodil Day campaign this year and she described how difficult the emotional impact of cancer is.

She was diagnosed with cancer aged 32 when her daughter was just one. Sarah noticed a swelling under her arm that turned out to be breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She said: “The chemo and radiotherapy were very tough, but it was the period after treatment I found the most difficult. People expect you to go back to normal.

"But for me, that’s when the reality of what I had gone through really hit me. I was very anxious and depressed and found it hard to cope. I felt my body had betrayed me and was constantly worried about the cancer coming back.

“I got a lot of support from the nurses on the Irish Cancer Society’s free Nurseline and in their Daffodil Centre. It helped so much to talk to someone who understood what I was going through and could answer my questions. I called the Nurseline again recently when I was worried about my check-up and it helped calm me down. Talking is so important, because recovery isn’t just physical, it’s mental too,” said Sarah.

Averil Power said: “Thanks to our fantastic supporters, Sarah had someone to turn to when she was struggling to cope. Unfortunately, increased demand means not everyone who needs our help is getting it. Each day in Ireland, 150 people are diagnosed with cancer.

"We want to be there for every one of them with free support from our nurses and counselling sessions in local cancer centres nationwide. But as 98% of our funding comes from donations, we cannot do that without a strong Daffodil Day.

"That’s why this Friday we’re calling on communities all over Ireland to come together, support cancer patients and ensure no-one has to go through cancer alone.”

Bernadette Lavery, MD of Boots Ireland said many of their 87 stores will be holding fundraisers and customers can buy a daffodil pin instore or add a donation to their bill to help raise funds.

To support Daffodil Day you can buy a pin from a local volunteer, your local Boots store, or donate at www.cancer.ie.

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