'Daffodil Days' to bloom one final time

The Daffodil Days event is coming to an end. This will be the final year for the American Cancer Society's campaign.
The Daffodil Days event is coming to an end. This will be the final year for the American Cancer Society's campaign.
Photo by James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 9:06 p.m.

The American Cancer Society's newer campaigns have knocked the petals off Daffodil Days.

This year's Daffodil Days campaign will be the last in the 40-year-old fundraising effort, in which Allegheny County led the nation in collections in 2012.

“The whole idea is to prioritize and focus our efforts on events that are emerging as more successful,” says Brian Gulish, communications manager for the Allegheny County branch of the group.

The American Cancer Society is celebrating its 100th year in 2013, he says, and by focusing on campaigns that raise more money in the fight against cancer “we would like to make sure we are not around for a 200th birthday.”

Erin O'Donnell, a spokeswoman for Peoples Natural Gas, a platinum sponsor of the event here, admits there is some disappointment to see the event go “because it was a way to welcome spring as well as to fight cancer.”

But, she says, the whole point is to fight the disease so she can understand concentrating efforts on “better ways to raise funds.”

Daffodil Days, in which donors buy the flowers to fund the fight against cancer, will be held is this area March 19 and 20 when orders placed by Feb. 20 will be delivered.

Nationally, Daffodil Days has lost some popularity, Gulish says, and now takes place in only 19 states.

It generated $17 million nationwide in 2012 of which $1.15 million came from the 18 counties in Western Pennsylvania, Gulish says. Allegheny led the individual county totals nationwide by raising $431,798 through 800 participating businesses.

By contrast, the 69 American Cancer Society's Relay for Life efforts in those 18 counties raised $6.15 million. Nationwide, the campaign raised $400 million. Relay for Life began in 1985.

Only in its third year, Making Strides for Breast Cancer events, which were held only in Allegheny and Erie Counties in this area, raised a total of $356,072.

“So, you can see we will be trying to grow those events,” Gulish says.

Relay for Life events are 24-hour run/walk circuits of tracks, at which teams raise money from donations. Making Strides outings are 5-kilometer walks that work the same way.

O'Donnell says her company's Peoples Community Outreach Effort probably would look into participation of such events as a way of helping the cancer fight.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com

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