Nova Scotian Bonnie Durling says a 2019 cancer diagnosis may have upended life as she knew it, but through Canada’s largest cancer research charity, she was able to find an overwhelming amount of support that helped carry her through.
“You get through the initial processing and you begin to ask the questions as every cancer patient does. And, one of the things that I was most grateful for with the Cancer Society was that they took so much guesswork out of everything,” Durling said.
A self-examination of her breasts led to a Stage 2 cancer diagnosis. She says her self-examination played a crucial role in her catching the disease early enough to have successful treatment.
“Unfortunately, the cancer that I had did not show on a mammogram, but it showed very quickly with an ultrasound, and that’s how we began the process to go into have the biopsy done. So, if I hadn’t begun the process and I hadn’t found it, it wouldn’t have been done,” she said.
Like thousands across Canada, Durling says she turned to the Canadian Cancer Society for support following her diagnosis.
Part of that support included her staying at The Lodge That Gives in Halifax while she received six weeks of radiation therapy following a lumpectomy.
“It was an amazing relief for me to have people that had been down this road before,” Durling says of the support she received during her stay.
Durling’s ability to stay at the lodge is largely due to annual funds raised through the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Campaign, which was first launched in Canada more than 70 years ago.
“The daffodil has been the symbol of the CCS because it is a resilient flower, it can survive the hearty Canadian winters and it always blooms in spring,” Daniel Fowlie said, who is a supporter engagement specialist with the Canadian Cancer Society in New Brunswick.
Pre-COVID, the flower would be distributed to people across Canada who made a donation to the charity. The national campaign would lean on the support of volunteers across the country to help distribute daffodils during the month of April.
For the second year, the campaign has been disrupted because of the pandemic, but it is still happening with modifications.
“People can purchase a digital daffodil online. So, there is a daffodil pin there. If people want they can donate a daffodil bulb that will be planted at one of the lodges across Canada in the fall and then they will bloom next spring,” Fowlie said.
Donations for the Daffodil Campaign will be collected throughout the month of April and go towards supporting people like Durling throughout their fight to overcome cancer.
“There’s so much gratitude in my heart to those people that continue to support this amazing campaign. It’s because of those people, specifically, that we’re able to have the resources that we have available to us to be able to successfully fight this disease,” she said.