Daf­fodil Place fundrais­ing reaches full bloom

The Compass - - OPINION - BY STEVE BARTLETT

It was chilly for late May and the flur­ries were heavy, but the ther­mome­ter on the Daf­fodil Place sign still rose to the top.

The cap­i­tal cam­paign for the can­cer hos­tel an­nounced last Tues­day morn­ing, May 26 it had reached its $7-mil­lion goal, and a snowy, yet sym­bolic, cer­e­mony fol­lowed when the last sec­tion of the fund­ing me­ter was coloured in on the Em­pire Av­enue sign­board in St. John’s.

The fundrais­ing ef­fort hit its tar­get a year ear­lier than planned, which sur­prised the chair­man of the Daf­fodil Place cap­i­tal cam­paign.

“It came to­gether re­ally, re­ally well, but in the end, you are sort of re­lieved be­cause you say you are go­ing to do it, you set the goal, so it’s a big re­lief,” said John Steele.

He stressed it wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble without the gen­eros­ity of many.

“We have many busi­nesses towns, cities, com­mu­nity groups, labour groups and in­di­vid­u­als make do­na­tions, host events, or of­fer their time as vol­un­teers.”

Peter Dawe is with the pro­vin­cial divi­sion of the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety, which will own and op­er­ate the 24-room fa­cil­ity built to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tions for can­cer pa­tients who have to travel to St. John’s for treat­ment.

He said he was amazed by the sup­port Daf­fodil Place has re­ceived since the cam­paign was launched in 2007.

“For it to come to­gether this quickly speaks ab­so­lute vol­umes to the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador and ... is a re­flec­tion of the need that was out there and what they wanted to see,” said Dawe.

Steele said the com­plex will of­fi­cially open June 12 and Dawe said they hope to open the doors to pa­tients shortly af­ter that.

He’s ex­pect­ing up to 500 peo­ple will stay there each year and says peo­ple have been call­ing and looking to stay there for months.

“There is a pent-up de­mand, if you will, and we knew that. That’s why we built the build­ing. We knew there was a great de­mand and there’d be a great in­ter­est in peo­ple stay­ing there.”

Al­though op­er­at­ing such a fa­cil­ity will be new ground for the can­cer so­ci­ety, Dawe said his or­ga­ni­za­tion knows what it’s get­ting into and he is not an­tic­i­pat­ing op­er­a­tional ob­sta­cles.

If there is a chal­lenge, he said, “it’s help­ing peo­ple make sure they get through their jour­ney.”

sbartlett@thetele­gram.com

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