A glowing tribute was paid to Majella O’Donnell’s brave head shave on the Late Late show by Head of Fundraising for the Irish Cancer Society Mark Mellett.
Mr Mellett said that he couldn’t express properly how fantastic her efforts were in raising awareness for the Irish Cancer Society.
“She wanted to do what she could do,” he said paying tribute to the €550,000 raised by Majella following her headshave on the Late Late Show.
The praise for the wife of singer Daniel O’Donnell came from Mr Mellett yesterday as he officially opened the Daffodil Centre in Letterkenny Shopping Centre.
The centre is the first of its kind in the country to be placed in a commercial setting. Visitors from the public can drop in to receive vital cancer information and support.
The Daffodil Centre was just about to open in Letterkenny General Hospital before the July floods ravaged the building. With a little help from Harcourt Developments, it was relocated to Letterkenny Shopping Centre without the usual rental fees.
“We shouldn’t be here, but we are,” said Head of Fundraising for the Irish Cancer Society Mark Mellett.
“It’s a testament to the people of Donegal that we are here today,” he said, praising the determination of volunteers to get the Centre open.
Like Majella, Mellet said that the Daffodil Centre volunteers and Relay For Life Donegal fundraisers wanted to do what they could for cancer care and research. He highly praised their efforts.
Volunteers at the Daffodil Centre said that people are visiting the space specifically to make a donation to the Irish Cancer Society after they were touched by Majella’s Late Late Show appeal.
However, the Daffodil Centre does not accept donations as their services are free of charge. Volunteers could only advise kind supporters how to contribute by other means online or through post and telephone.
Mellet also announced that the The Irish Cancer Society will this year extend the Care to Drive service to bring radiotherapy patients from Donegal to Galway.
The service previously only transported patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.
By the end of October, car transport will be provided for radiotherapy patients from their homes in Donegal to the Cancer Care West lodge at Galway University Hospital.
This service will be exclusive to Donegal patients. There are 62 volunteer drivers in Donegal.
30,000 people in Ireland receive cancer diagnoses each year. The Daffodil Centre will be there for patients to get information and ask any “silly questions” that they may have, said Mellett.
“Cancer is something that touches everyone on a personal level,” said volunteer Caroline Villamajna who lost her mother to cancer. Both active and retired nurses, home-helpers and other volunteers were trained and vetted before helping in the Daffodil Centre.
Teraze Toby, specialist cancer nurse, and her team of 26 volunteers from the area will provide visitors with information on cancer prevention, early detection, cancer treatments and related side-effects, palliative care services, support and psychological care, practical entitlements and services available.
Nursing Services Manager for the Irish Cancer Society Joan Kelly said that the Daffodil Centre being in a commercial space is a “really unique situation and a massive opportunity for the Irish Cancer Society to evaluate very closely.”
The Daffodil Centre is open to the public Monday to Friday, 9am -5pm with no appointment or referral necessary. Cancer patients, family members and the general public are all welcome.
The Centre would not have been possible without the generous funds raised by Relay for Life Donegal and the support of the Darren Clarke Foundation. The Irish Cancer Society receives 95% of its funding from public donations.
This year’s Relay For Life Donegal raised almost €321,000 for research which will ultimately help find better ways of diagnosing and treating cancer for patients across the country.
Relay for Life Committee members, volunteers and Cancer Care campaigners were all present to see the opening of a project they had all proudly contributed to.
“When you see a day like today it is all very much worthwhile,” said Letterkenny Town Mayor Pascal Blake. He said that it is great for Letterkenny to have the expertise, confidentiality, and consultancy the Centre will provide. He wished every success and good wish to the venture.
by Rachel McLaughlin