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Dorothy Poffenberger and Lori Bachmann hold commemorative bear Ray O. Hope, which was specially designed by Boyd's Bears for the American Cancer Society's Daffodil Days fundraiser. Vicki Gerdes/Tribune

Buy a daffodil, help fight cancer

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Once again, the Becker County chapter of the American Cancer Society is hoping to “paint this county yellow” with its annual Daffodil Days fundraiser.

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Since January, Cancer Society volunteers have been accepting orders for bunches and bunches of bright yellow daffodils, which will be distributed this weekend to area homes, offices, hospitals, and places of worship.  “We will be taking orders through this Saturday (March 9),” said Cancer Society volunteer Lori Bachmann, who is one of the organizers of the Daffodil Days fundraiser.

Daffodils are being sold in bunches for $10, in vases for $15, and as Gift of Hope bouquets, to be delivered anonymously to local cancer patients, for $25.  Any unsold flowers will then be sent over to Central Market, which will be selling them at its courtesy counter starting on Tuesday, March 12, and continuing until they are sold out.

Ray O. Hope commemorative bear

This year’s fundraiser also features Ray O. Hope, a custom designed Boyds’ Bear made to be sold exclusively with a bunch of daffodils as a special “Bear and a Bunch” package that can be ordered for a donation of $25.  “You can also send a ‘Bear Hug’ anonymously to a child living with cancer, for a $25 donation,” said longtime Cancer Society volunteer Dorothy Poffenberger, who has been a part of the local Daffodil Days fundraiser “for about 35 years now.”

“I read something in the paper about all the people who were dying from smoking every year,” she said, adding that they compared the number of people dying from smoking-related diseases to “a jet plane going down every week.”

“That’s how I got started,” she said. “Paul Ness was the chairman at that time."

Poffenberger herself chaired the fundraiser for many years. “It’s about saving lives — trying to find a cure to put an end to this terrible disease,” she said of her reasons for being so dedicated to the cause for so many years.  “I feel we’ve made great strides,” she added, noting that ACS’s lobbying efforts against smoking helped contribute to a statewide smoking ban in all public buildings throughout Minnesota — including restaurants and bars.  “Our (anti-smoking) advocacy efforts have made an impact across several states,” Bachmann pointed out.

Cancer prevention research has also made a great deal of progress in the past four decades, Poffenberger said. “With early detection and treatment, a cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence,” she added.  In addition to contributing to the Cancer Society’s fight against the disease, Poffenberger said, “I’ve also made a lot of wonderful friends over the years.”  “I think a lot of people volunteer with us because it’s a great fellowship,” Bachmann said.

While Daffodil Days has been an important part of the local chapter’s fundraising efforts for close to 40 years, this season will be its last, said Bachmann.  “We’re retiring it this year,” she added, noting that the organization as a whole has decided to concentrate its efforts on signature fundraising events such as the Relay for Life, and upcoming plans to observe the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society — which hopefully won’t be around for another century.

“We’re going to finish the fight (against cancer) — that’s the plan,” Bachmann said. “We really want to put ourselves out of business.”

Though the Daffodil Days fundraiser will be ending after this year, there is still time to get involved, Poffenberger noted.  Daffodils and bears are still available to order, and each donation makes a difference in the fight against cancer. Reserve yours now by calling 218-847-4725, or 847-8288.

“Thanks to the overwhelming support we have received for Daffodil Days, the American Cancer Society is helping people facing cancer, saving lives, and empowering all of us to fight back against the disease,” Bachmann said.  She added that she would like to send out a special message of gratitude to all the volunteers who have contributed to the success of the Daffodil Days fundraiser over the years.

Dollars raised through Daffodil Days enable the American Cancer Society to save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early, helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis, by finding cures through investment in lifesaving research, and by fighting back by working with lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight.

For cancer information, day-to-day help, or emotional support, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers and editor of MN Boomers magazine for the past 13 years. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 847-3151
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