RTE broadcaster Mary Kennedy is appealing to the public to turn out in force tomorrow (June 5) and Saturday (June 6) and support National Sunflower Days, one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the hospice movement in Ireland.
Local hospice groups all over the country hope to raise more than €1 million for hospice services through Sunflower Days, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The event is coordinated on behalf of the hospice movement by the Irish Hospice Foundation and all of the funds raised locally, stay locally.
People are being encouraged to support their local hospice service on June 5th and 6th by purchasing various pieces of Sunflower merchandise – including sunflower pins for €2 each from collectors on the streets of cities, towns and villages across Ireland.
A recent national survey commissioned by the Irish Hospice Foundation revealed that 75% of Irish people want to die at home – however only 25 per cent will get to do so partly due to lack of services.
Launching Hospice Sunflower Days recently, Mary Kennedy commented: “There is probably not a family in Ireland that has not been touched by the amazing work carried out by hospice services across the country. The care and support afforded to families in need, at a very difficult time, is so important and I am encouraging members of the public to show their support for Sunflower Days once again this year. By simply buying a pin you are helping to bring comfort and dignity to people at the end-of-life.”
She added: “It is so inspiring to meet the “Sunflower Heroes” and the dedicated volunteers from all over the country who do so much to secure hospice services locally. Without them there are many patients and their families whose end of life would be so much harder. They are all heroes in the true sense and need to be acknowledged. I am honoured to be here with them today.”
Pat Quinlan, Chief Executive Officer of Milford Care Centre and Chair of the Voluntary Hospices Group, commented: “Across the country, the number of people seeking hospice care services continues to increase at a time when funding resources, both public and voluntary, have become more scarce. We are more reliant than ever on the generosity and goodwill of our supporters and volunteers.”
“We appeal to people to support their local service so patients and families can get help at a time of greatest need. Sunflower Days is a vital source of funding for local hospice services so please donate onJune 5th & 6th and if you have a few hours to spare please consider volunteering.”
Hospice or palliative care involves the total care of patients and their families at the stage in a serious illness, where the focus has switched from treatment aimed at cure to ensuring quality of life. About 29,000 people die annually in Ireland and over 6,000 people use hospice services every year.