"Without volunteers, the cause would be nowhere" – says Vincent Auclair, honourary chairperson of Canadian Cancer Society's 2009 Daffodil Days campaign.
"Governments can only do so much to battle ills that plague society, the rest is up to volunteers without whose involvement all of us would be in dire straits," said Vimont MNA Vincent Auclair, echoing the sentiments of Laval city councilor and executive committee member André Boileau who asked for greater involvement of volunteers in community causes such as fund-raising for cancer research.
Mr. Auclair, honorary chairperson, and Mr. Boileau, one of three honorary patrons, spoke at the launch of the 2009 Daffodil Days campaign of the Canadian Cancer Society. Daffodil Days is an annual event whose two-fold objective is raising of funds for cancer research and services to victims, and sensitizing the community to the needs of those affected by this insidious disease, including family and friends of victims. The sale of these bright flowers kicks off the Society's annual fund-raising campaign, reminding everyone that April is Cancer Month.Volunteers wanted
"I urge members of the community in general and employees of Ville de Laval in particular to do their part in support of this crucial work," Mr. Boileau told Courrier Laval, minutes after Véronique Gallant of the Canadian Cancer Society's Laval office had invited Laval residents to support the 2009 campaign. "Yellow is the colour of spring, of sharing, of friendship, and the spreading of hope," she told an assembled audience of dignitaries, organizers and volunteers.
Joseph-Marie Bélanger, an eight-year volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, had other reasons for becoming involved in Daffodil Days. "I wanted to give something back for the help, services and support received from the Society by members of my immediate family who were struck by cancer," Mr. Bélanger explained, adding that he realized how valuable the work of volunteers can be in helping sufferers cope with the illness. Mr. Bélanger, who sings in several choirs and is often associated with the Laval Symphony Orchestra, said he's gratified to work with so many other volunteers, but also sounded the alarm for the need for more people to become involved. "If the volunteers are not there, what happens to the cause," Mr. Bélanger asked, knowing the answer only too well.
Volunteer Céline Richard said she became involved in the cause "to give back some of the goodness and good health I enjoyed in my long career as a teacher."
Both André De Maisonneuve (associate of BPR Triax Engineering) and Richard Carpentier (president of the Laval Firefighters Association), the other honorary patrons, also expressed commitment to the cause and respect for the many volunteers who help achieve it. "We're proud to be a part of it, and we're once again adding our support with a hands-on approach," stated firefighter Carpentier, referring to his association's 'Friday in the Subway' blitz when Laval firefighters will be selling daffodils in the metro. For his part, Mr. De Maisonneuve emphasized the importance of the private sector in humanitarian initiatives such as these. "Young or old, public or private, there should be no distinction in the support that's contributed to the cause. Cancer makes no distinctions, and the young are just as vulnerable as anyone else."
As for the involvement of young people in these kinds of community ventures, Mr. Boileau and Mr. Auclair strongly insisted that the younger generation must be part of the solution. "The young are the hope of the future and we rely on their contribution to society," said Mr. Boileau. "We need their personal touch and their commitment to a healthy society," said Mr. Auclair, adding that young people can be instrumental in building a better world in many ways, including volunteering and leading healthier lives through wiser choices, such as not-smoking.