TODAY is Daffodil Day and Dawn Cunningham, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, is on a mission.
She is honouring her late son and mother’s memory, who both passed away from cancer, to encourage Australians to donate to Cancer Council to fund life-saving cancer research.
Ms Cunningham, from Torquay in Victoria, lost her only son Gabi to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was just 14-years-old.
“He was taken away from me after only 14 years,” she said.
“It was much too short a time, but they were the most precious years of my life.”
She finds August difficult as it is the month of Gabi’s birth and she always visits his grave to wish him a happy birthday.
“I remembered the many months Gabi underwent chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, and the times his hair would fall onto the bed,” Ms Cunningham said.
“He was such an exceptional young man who was outgoing and affectionate.
“He absolutely adored school and made lots of friends.
“Gabi always wanted to be a pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force; that was his goal and he would’ve achieved it, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be.”
Ms Cunningham, now in remission from breast cancer, raised thousands of dollars over the years for Cancer Council with Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser events.
Her charity work is well-known in her local community.
Cancer Council is the only charity in Australia that works across every area of cancer, from research to prevention and support.
It is encouraging Australians this year to use their Flower Power to make a positive impact on the lives of people affected by cancer.
Cancer Council Victoria’s head of fundraising and communication Lyrian Fleming-Parsley said the daffodil flower is recognised as a symbol of hope the world over.
“Hope has always been at the heart of our mission,” she said.
“Due to COVID-19, we lost close to $15 million in fundraising revenue in Victoria last year which means less money to fund our cancer research, prevention programs and support services.
“After a year when we all felt a little powerless about the future, thanks to the pandemic, particularly for people undergoing cancer treatment, this year we’re determined to create a movement focused on empowerment.”
Ms Cunningham hopes that one day Gabi’s wish will come true.
“He wanted to get a cure for cancer,” she said.
To donate to life-saving cancer research, please visit Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day website.
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.