Medical center celebrates daffodils

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Officially, spring is still a day away, but inside Glendale Adventist Medical Center, the season of awakening and renewal is off to a head-start.

Hospital staff members and volunteers from the American Cancer Society trimmed hundreds of bundles of daffodils — the delicate yellow flowers are often the first spring buds to bloom — and delivered them to cancer patients on Tuesday.

The gesture is an annual tradition at Glendale Adventist, where cancer services staff members at the hospital partner with the American Cancer Society to provide and deliver the flowers to usher in the spring season.

In previous years, the event doubled as a fundraiser; hospital staff members would purchase the flowers for the patients, and the proceeds would go to the society.

But this year, as a way to focus solely on the patients, Cancer Services Director Melina Thorpe opted to cancel the fundraiser aspect and just give the flowers away.

“I just wanted it to be all about the patients,” said Thorpe, who added that the hospital is very much involved with other fundraising ventures to support the cancer society. “We're always partners. Without the American Cancer Society, we wouldn't exist and without us they wouldn't exist so it's a very symbiotic relationship.

Along with their bundle of freshly trimmed daffodils, patients received a card explaining that the yellow flowers symbolize hope.

And it's a message that cancer patient Sandra Thompson, a Highland Park resident, said is crucial to dealing with the often debilitating disease.

Thompson, mother of seven and grandmother of three, beat breast cancer in 2001, but was diagnosed in January with colon cancer.

Getting diagnosed was no less emotionally traumatic the second time around, but Thompson said that maintaining hope and a positive attitude helped her beat cancer the first time and they'll help her beat it again.

“To me it's not a death sentence if you keep a positive attitude,” she said. “You have to. If you give up, there's nothing left.”

And if any cancer patients are having trouble finding hope, Eagle Rock resident Corinne Jolly offered herself as an example.

Diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2005, Jolly was told she had two months to a year to live, she said. Two and a half years later, hundreds of hours of chemotherapy and medication behind her, and Jolly is cancer-free, she said.

At the hospital on Tuesday for a two-hour chemotherapy treatment, Jolly received a small bouquet of daffodils for the third year in a row, she said.

“It just makes you feel special that they don't forget about you and reminds you never to give up hope,” Jolly said. “I'm a prime example of that.”

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