Kevin Stanton from Gore reflects on the day that changed his life. He thought it was a death sentence. Lois, Kevin's wife, was devastated and said, "Here we go again."
Daffodil Day – Cancer doesn’t stop, so we won’t either.
Since 1990, Daffodil Day has inspired people to come together and support the Cancer Society's work and raise awareness of cancer in New Zealand. Daffodil Day is the last Friday of August, and every dollar raised will go towards cancer care for patients and their whānau, education and awareness programmes, and life-saving cancer research.
"Every day, 71 New Zealanders will find out they have cancer. With the demand for the Cancer Society's services increasing, support is required more than ever. Daffodil Day symbolises hope and inspires communities to come together to support people living with cancer", says Rachael Hart, Chief Executive of the Cancer Society, Otago and Southland Division.
Kevin Stanton from Gore reflects on the day that changed his life. He thought it was a death sentence. Lois, Kevin's wife, was devastated and said, "Here we go again".
In the Spring of 2020, Kevin had a cancer spot successfully removed from his forehead. At the same time, his voice got very gravelly and sometimes down to a whisper. After many worrying tests and visits to the doctor in Gore, Invercargill, and Dunedin, the specialists diagnosed it as throat cancer.
A 28-day course in radiation was to follow in Dunedin. Kevin and his wife Lois got in touch with the Cancer Society’s Daffodil House to organise accommodation. Having accommodation was such a relief as they had no idea how to manage both financially and emotionally. Kevin is a very private person and doesn't handle crowds well. Kevin was lucky to have Lois with him but deeply missed his wee dog.
It didn't take long for him to realise that everyone there was in the same position, and it was a blessing to talk to others about cancer in such a supportive environment. Lois had survived bowel cancer in 2018, so her experience helped her support Kevin too.
Kevin said, "Daffodil House was a wonderful place to stay and had a very well-equipped kitchen with fridges and freezers, a spacious dining room, and a relaxing lounge. It is only a short walk to the supermarket for food and a little exercise. Every Wednesday, a lovely lady called Pat comes in and makes yummy cheese and date scones for everyone. There was always someone there for support and care when we had questions or needed a little reassurance.”
Kevin and Lois eventually left Daffodil House, and the radiation was a success with the throat clear of cancer. But sadly, at a cat scan to check the throat, Kevin's top right lung showed a cancer spot, which changed, so it was another round of Doctors and Specialists. Lois was back to Daffodil House on Sunday, 20 June, while Kevin had an operation to remove the top right lobe from his lung. Kevin had a rough time and was in CCU for four days, and Lois spent a lot of time at the hospital.
Lois was so grateful for the care and support she received from Fiona and her team at Daffodil House. She doesn't know how she would have got through without this support. On 29 June, Kevin and Lois were able to return home again. Kevin's operation was a success, and they were able to remove the whole cancer spot, and there is no cancer on the lymph nodes, so Kevin required no further treatment. His goal now is to treasure everything much more and live to 100!
Lois said, "No Lotto tickets for us – we've used a lot of luck this year, but we are so grateful to Fiona and the team at the Cancer Society for all the love we have received this year. Daffodil House is a lifesaver for people like us."
As someone who has had three cancers and come out the other end, Kevin says “hang in there and accept love and support from family, friends, and the Cancer Society – it worked for me. You will go through your treatment a lot easier with the Cancer Society on your side."
Daffodil Day symbolises hope for Kevin and Lois, and all New Zealanders impacted by cancer. For 31 years, this iconic event has inspired people to come together and support the Cancer Society's work.
Donations can be made at daffodilday.org.nz – please give generously this year.
About Daffodil House
The Otago Southland Cancer Society's Daffodil House provides a home away from home for you if you have to travel to Dunedin for cancer appointments or treatment. Daffodil House is one block from Dunedin Public Hospital and the main shopping centre.
For more information please feel free to contact your local office or you can contact the team at the House directly on (03) 479 6782 or 021 241 9660.