Hundreds of volunteers gathered on the Dartmouth waterfront on Saturday with the goal of planting 13,000 bulbs in the Daffodil Garden for Cancer Survivors.
The daffodil garden opened last September, making it the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada It was created by two cancer survivors, Judy and Jim Edgar, who raised the $73,000 necessary to make their dream a reality.
They say the daffodil is a symbol of strength, courage and hope for those living with cancer.
"[Cancer] doesn't have to be a death sentence," said Jim Edgar. "I mean, you have to stay positive, that's the key. You work at it and you take care of yourself."
As their shovels hit the dirt, many of the volunteers thought about their reasons for participating.
"My granny was a breast cancer and skin cancer survivor, so this is for her," said Yuriko Clark, one of the volunteers. "It makes me feel connected because my dad really likes gardening and it was his mom."
She and her friend, Jinky Apayo, planted more than 300 bulbs throughout the morning. They said it was hard work, but worth it.
"I took the bus by here every morning over the last year, and I saw this beautiful yellow field of daffodils ... and it's really good to help and be a contribution to this, giving back," Apayo said.
Each year, more daffodils are planted by volunteers, and the garden grows.
Some of the volunteers stopped by to help out in honour of family members, and some did it to represent their own journey.
Betty Lou Blackburn came to plant daffodils with her family.
"I'm a cancer survivor. Five times," Blackburn said. "Judy and Jim [Edgar] have created a beautiful, restful spot. It's lovely here."
Blackburn said her family is a large part of why she was able to stay positive after each diagnosis.
"In January, it'll be 28 years since my first diagnosis.... My left lung was done in 2008, my right lung was in 2010," said Blackburn. "So it is a disadvantage. However, we worked through it, [my family] is my rock."
Edgar said he hopes the resilience of the flowers coming up every year can inspire the countless people whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
"We've always defined cancer survivors as not only the people that have had cancer and beat death, but also their family, their friends, co-workers, their medical team," he said. "They've all walked that journey with them."
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