Daffodil Month

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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East and West block of Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I rise today on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation.

Today is the last day of April, also known in the cancer world as Daffodil Month. Every spring, the Canadian Cancer Society rallies together around the daffodil to show their support and help people with cancer live longer, fuller lives.

The daffodil is the first flower to bloom in the spring, and, for those living with cancer, it is a symbol of hope. I saw daffodils on my walk here today.

During this month, volunteers raise vital funds and show support, wearing daffodil pins to aid in the fight against cancer. I am happy to see that many of our colleagues here are wearing their daffodil pins.

The funds collected during Daffodil Month support promising research across all cancer types, provide a compassionate support system for people living with cancer and their caregivers, and fund advocacy for healthy public policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease.

Although we know that cancer affects everyone, I know it doesn’t affect everyone equally. There are deep disparities in cancer risk, care and costs that can impact a person’s cancer treatment, outcomes and overall experience — what some call the “cancer journey.” This is especially true for people of African descent, who are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages of the disease and less likely to have positive outcomes. Early detection is key, as are health promotion and awareness.

Today, we grieve with those families who feel the pain of the loss of a loved one to cancer. Today, we also pause to honour cancer survivors, with special recognition to all who give back by volunteering to help others.

Colleagues, please join me in thanking the Canadian Cancer Society and their volunteers for their tireless efforts to help raise awareness in this country about cancer and its impacts on individuals, families, communities and, of course, all of us here. I would like to give special thanks to Senator Cardozo for inviting all of us to participate and for inviting the Canadian Cancer Society here today.

Thank you. Asante.

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