Campus & Community

Daffodil Days marks 20 years of fighting cancer

3 min read

Although yellow is not often associated with the drab winter months, Community Affairs has gone a long way in helping to change that perception on Harvard’s campus. This early spring, those efforts reach a milestone as Harvard celebrates two decades as a key participant in the annual Daffodil Days fundraiser.

Beginning this month, faculty, staff, and students can order the bright bouquets of 10 stems for $7 each, or a teddy bear and a bunch – a bouquet of daffodils plus a limited edition, collectible Boyds Bear – for $25.

All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society to help get information and services to some of the 33,000 individuals who are newly diagnosed with cancer each year in Massachusetts. Selling occurs throughout the month of February with the help of more than 100 area coordinators. The last day to purchase flowers and bears is March 2.

On March 19, University Mail Services will deliver the bouquets and bears to more than 100 separate drop-off points and four local hospitals. In addition, all purchasers have the opportunity to donate gifts to area hospitals’ oncology departments.

Daffodil Days attributes its success to the past leadership efforts of Rita Corkery, former associate director of Community Affairs and a breast cancer survivor, who began the program at Harvard in 1988, and more recently, Carole Lee, former department administrator for Government, Community and Public Affairs, who retired from the University in 2002. Both helped to get the program off the ground and brought it to the success that it is today.

The first year, sales reached $2,500; in 2006, Harvard staff, faculty, and students topped sales at more than $38,000, earning Harvard the distinction as the top university seller. Since the event’s inception, total contributions to the American Cancer Society are more than $430,000.

“This has been a difficult year for us at the Kennedy School as we have lost several beloved colleagues to cancer in the last 10 months,” said Martha Foley, associate director for administration at the School and one of last year’s top flower sellers. “Increased support of the daffodil campaign and the great work in research, education, advocacy, and services to patients provided by the American Cancer Society seems like a good way to honor the memory of our colleagues. I feel privileged to be a part of the Harvard campaign.”

To locate your departmental coordinator, or to volunteer, please contact Julie Russell in the Office of Community and Public Affairs at (617) 495-4955 or