Brave cancer battle marked with flowers

GREAT CAUSE: Sarah Royall, Daffodils day coordinator with Pat Denson of Casino at St Vincent private hospital.
GREAT CAUSE: Sarah Royall, Daffodils day coordinator with Pat Denson of Casino at St Vincent private hospital. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

BECOMING a cancer patient is one of life's toughest ordeals and for lymphoma patient Pat Denson and her husband Brian it's been no different.

"You hear about other families having it, and you don't realise how bad it is until it happens to you," Mr Denson said.

"It certainly changes your outlook on life.

"You need the support of everybody."

Yesterday Pat and Brian Denson spoke openly about the experience after a surprise visit by the Cancer Council's "daffodil army" ahead of next Friday's annual Cancer Council fundraiser, Daffodil Day.

This year will be the first Mrs Denson has spent as a cancer patient at St Vincent's undergoing chemotherapy.

When she was first diagnosed four years ago, an operation managed to successfully remove the lymphoma from her neck, but it showed up again this year in her bone marrow.

Life-saving chemotherapy every three weeks began immediately, a physical challenge at the best of times, but a necessary one.

"You have your down days when you get low and depressed," she admitted.

"Some days you just have no energy."

"It certainly affects your life."

"The scan's showing everything clear, but I've still got to continue with the chemo," she said.

If all continues to go well it's hoped the treatment will wrap up early next year, after which the couple is planning a well-deserved holiday "somewhere nice and warm".

The Daffodil Day campaign aims to raise $3.2 million in NSW for cancer research, prevention, and support, and is the biggest national fundraiser of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

What have daffodils got to do with cancer?

The daffodil was chosen as the symbol of hope for all affected by cancer because of its reputation as a hardy annual flower, pushing its way through the frozen earth after a long winter to herald the return of spring, new life, vitality and growth.

As one of the first flowers of spring, the daffodil also symbolises rebirth and new beginnings.

Along with fresh daffodils, supporters of the day can also buy yellow lapel pins ($5), pens ($6) and Dougal Bear ($10).

Daffodil Day officially falls on the fourth Friday in August each year. This year it's next Friday, August 22.

For more information visit the Daffodil Day website.

Topics:  cancer daffodil day health

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