After losing her father to cancer, Kevala Shishmanian found hope in volunteering for Daffodil Day.
Ms Shishmanian was set to embark on her OE when her father Alfred was diagnosed with cancer in his kidneys in April 2010.
Despite her protests he encouraged her to travel, but she returned home a few months later because the aggressive cancer had spread. He died in December. ‘‘It was an extremely hard thing to go through, which is part of the reason I do Cancer Society volunteering, because they help the families and the people going through it in so many ways,’’ the 27-yearold says.
‘‘It’s not only research. They help with housing and counselling and just making cups of tea. And that’s one of the most important things, because if you don’t have the support I don’t know how you would get through something like that.’’
Daffodil Day is held on Friday and is the Cancer Society’s flagship fundraising event.
Chief executive John Loof says the long-established event is important because the society doesn’t get any direct government funding.
‘‘Daffodil Day enables us to continue to do our much-needed work in the community to reduce the impact of cancer today and in the future,’’ he says.
Money raised goes towards vital scientific research into the causes and treatments of all types of cancer.
It also provides for a wide-range of support services and education campaigns.
This year will be the third time the Mt Albert resident has worked as a volunteer co-ordinator for the annual fundraising event.
She insists it is something she will continue to do for the rest of her life.
‘‘I’ve met people that have been doing it for the last 20 years and it’s amazing.
‘‘They’ve still got so much passion for it and I’m hoping I’m going to be one of those people in 20 years.
‘‘Doing this makes me feel like I’m giving back in a way. I know my dad would be proud.’’
Fifty-five New Zealanders are diagnosed with cancer every day. It’s the country’s leading cause of death, with more than 8000 people dying of cancer every year.
Ms Shishmanian says giving just a little bit of money makes a huge difference.
Silver lining: Kevala Shishmanian says the death of her father has inspired her to become a life-long volunteer for Daffodil Day.