There’s so much more to Daffodil Day than yellow merchandise, according to Brisbane cancer survivor Ami Reynolds.
Daffodil Day, held this year on 22 August, is one of Australia’s most popular cancer fundraising events, but there is so much more to this event than yellow flowers.
Brisbane cancer patients rely heavily on these funds to see themselves and their families through the emotional and financial burdens that come with a life-threatening diagnosis. These patients are often forced to give up their jobs, their independence and the ability to care for their families, and as survivors like Ami Reynolds can attest, help is not always at hand.
Two years ago Ami was diagnosed with bowel cancer, when she was just 25 years old. At 27 she is now in remission, but the stress of the surprise diagnosis still weighs heavily on her heart as she recounts the news that changed her life.
“The whole family got gastro, but I never recovered from it,” she says. “I didn’t have any prior symptoms or anything, we all got sick and I couldn’t get better. In the space of two weeks I’d had surgery and half of my bowel removed. The only thing that went through my mind was how I was going to be able to care for my little boy, Rupert, because he was only six months old at the time.
“I’m in remission now. It all happened so fast so we didn’t have time to stop and analyse the situation. It was just a huge whirlwind that came and turned our whole world upside down. It’s been a long two years in remission. My family is just so happy to be over it; while we were going through it it felt like it was never going to end.”
At the time of her cancer diagnosis Ami was working full time but was forced to give up her job, and with the majority of her family living in the UK Ami and her husband Chip were mainly left to care for themselves.
“I was told I wasn’t allowed to pick Rupert up after the surgery but I just had to, there was nobody else,” Ami says. “I called social services and said ‘what am I supposed to do?’ We did eventually get help, but it didn’t come without having to spend hours on the phone and weeks of speaking to social services begging for assistance.
“What I did receive was the free counselling the Cancer Council offers. I had a period of time where I needed to stop my treatment because I was really struggling to manage everything. The counselling got me back on track so I was able to resume my treatment.”
Daffodil Day is held so the Cancer Council can continue to support people like Ami and her family. Daffodil Day merchandise is on sale throughout July and August, and you can donate at any time. For more information visit www.daffodilday.com.au
Now in remission, Ami and her family have set up a support group for Brisbane families living with cancer, so nobody else has to feel alone. For more information visit the Family Cancer Support Group, Brisbane Facebook page.