Young mother is face of Irish Cancer Society’s 2020 daffodil appeal

Shannen Joyce (25) has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma twice

A young mother who has overcome cancer twice will be the public face of Daffodil Day, the Irish Cancer Society's main fundraising campaign.

Shannen Joyce (25), from Youghal, Co Cork, was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 19.

When the cancer reappeared two years ago, she was already a mother, having given birth to her daughter Róisín.

Speaking at the launch of the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day, Ms Joyce outlined how vital it is that support is available for those in need.


“I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma twice when I was at very different stages in my life. When I was first diagnosed at 19 my parents shielded me from so much of the worry.

“Back then it was all about me. I had to drop out of college, I couldn’t go on nights out. My hair falling out felt like the end of the world,” she said.

“At the time of my second diagnosis I was a mother myself and my fear was not for myself but for my little girl, Róisín.

“It was gut-wrenching to miss out on time with her when I was having treatment, or when I was too unwell to do everyday things like dress her. But Róisín was also my driving force – the reason I got out of bed each day.”

She said the Irish Cancer Society had provided support through its night nurse, volunteer driver service and its survivor support programme.

Irish Cancer Society chief executive Averil Power said the society needed to raise €4 million on Daffodil Day alone to funding daffodil centres, free counselling and the volunteer driver service.

The Daffodil Day launch was attended by advocate Stephen Teap, hundreds of Daffodil Day volunteers, cancer survivors and representatives from Boots stores around the country.

Get involved in Daffodil Day at

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times