Campus & Community / News

Daffodil Days a tribute to mom lost to cancer

Daffodil Days donations may be made through Feb. 18. Raeburn will deliver the daffodil bunches to on-campus locations during the week of March 7.

In 2003, at the age of 49, Vickie Lynn Petrey discovered a lump in her breast. She had lost her medical insurance coverage when her husband retired, so she put off getting a diagnosis despite having visible signs of breast cancer.

“I spent hours researching cancer resources and found the local American Cancer Society (ACS) office,” says Petrey’s daughter, Kelly Raeburn, assistant to the chair of DU’s geography department. “I sent an email inquiry, and a staff member responded with information about a grant she may be eligible for.”

Petrey applied for and received the grant, which allowed her access to an emergency mammogram. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. As a recipient of that grant, she became eligible for Medicaid benefits for chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy.

Raeburn credits the ACS with helping her mother live for six more years.

“The ACS staff was incredibly supportive through the entire process,” Raeburn says. “Even after she began diagnosis and treatment, they continued to follow up with her regarding support groups and services.

“She had six more wonderful years to make memories with her granddaughter,” Raeburn says. “These years with our family were made possible by the ACS.”

In her mother’s memory, Raeburn is participating in the ACS’ Daffodil Days fundraising program. Through Raeburn’s fundraising page, donors may purchase a bunch of daffodils, anonymously send a gift to a cancer patient being treated in the community, or send a Daffodil Days e-card to someone special. Raeburn already has raised more than $550 toward her $1,000 goal.

Donations may be made through Feb. 18. Raeburn will deliver the daffodil bunches to on-campus locations during the week of March 7.

“The money raised by ACS during this campaign stays right here in Denver to help people fighting cancer in our community,” she says. “We all know someone whose life has been devastated by cancer. I hope people will support this program, and I look forward to seeing offices all over campus brightened by daffodils in March.”

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