Across Taranaki, Cancer Society volunteers and staff are hard at work preparing for Daffodil Day.

The day is New Zealand's largest fundraising street appeal, and will take place on Friday, August 28, this year.

The cause strikes home for many, both in the region and nationally, says Cassie Rowe, fundraising and events co-ordinator for the Cancer Society, Taranaki centre.

"One in three people will have first-hand experience of cancer at some point in their life."

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It is often only when people experience cancer in their family, Cassie says, that they realise just how much the Cancer Society does.

"More often than not, people can feel quite lonely or isolated during their cancer journey. This is where we come in as we are able to provide support in various ways as well as ensuring they have access to all the services they need."

One of the things the Cancer Society does is organise support groups, something Raewyn Rooney says is invaluable.

Raewyn is chairperson of the Stratford Daffodil Day Committee and, having experienced cancer firsthand, says those support groups make a huge difference.

"When I am with my family or friends, I sometimes edit what I am saying about things and how I am feeling because I am trying to protect them a bit.

"In a support group, with other people going through a cancer journey, it is possible to say things and talk about things that I wouldn't with anyone else. Having that outlet is really important and helpful."

Raewyn says the Stratford community has been involved in Daffodil Day since it first began.

"In fact, one of our committee members, Raewyn McDonald, was on the initial committee back then, when it was called the Stratford Cancer Support Group."

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Raewyn Rooney herself has been involved since 1999 and says some of the other volunteers have also been involved for many of those 30 years.

"Daffodil Day in Stratford has always been a popular event and has been well supported by the community and local businesses."

As in previous years, the main event in Stratford is the ever-popular Daffodil Day luncheon, and Raewyn says everyone is already hard at work organising it.

"It is always popular and well attended and this year will be no exception."

National events are taking place to help celebrate 30 years, she says.

"One really exciting one is a series of auctions we have running. There will be 30 auctions set up over 30 days in August, and one has a beautiful Taranaki link as well."

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That link is a stunning bespoke 18-carat gold pendant, featuring 30 brilliant cut diamonds, designed and made by Taranaki-based Dalgleish Diamond Jewellers.

"All the auctions will be worth bidding on, but this pendant is really very special and is sure to attract attention from bidders nationwide."

The Cancer Society was deemed an essential service during the Covid-19 lockdown, Cassie says.

"The work the Cancer Society does continued throughout lockdown, supporting people all over New Zealand including Taranaki."

The majority of the money raised in Taranaki on Daffodil Day stays in the region, she says.

"While some does go out of the region itself, it is still helping people directly in Taranaki.

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"It funds things like Ozanam House, for example, our cancer patient accommodation in Palmerston North.

"While Palmerston North isn't in Taranaki, Ozanam House is used by Taranaki people who travel there for treatment."

It's Cassie's first daffodil day in the region, and she says she is looking forward to the day itself. She will be travelling around the mountain on the day, visiting events around the region with Lisa Grigg, the volunteer coordinator for the Taranaki centre.

Lisa, who is also on the Stratford Daffodil Day Committee, says she is looking forward to the day as well.

"We will certainly make sure we are in Stratford to see the luncheon, but I am also looking forward to seeing everything happening in towns all over the region. I am sure Taranaki will do us proud on the day."

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