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Feature Article

Daffodils Bring Hope to Patients with Cancer

For longtime residents of the mid-Willamette Valley, Annabelle Forster was a fixture in the community. Involved in her local 4-H club since she was a child, a baker at Oregon State University for 20 years, involved in her family’s farm and an avid collector of daffodils, Forster was known for helping people in many capacities. 

When she passed away in June of 2015, it was only matter of time before a way was found for this loving woman’s name to live on. A new program at Samaritan Cancer Resource Centers called Annabelle’s Hope is doing just that.

Stephanie Hagerty, the director of Samaritan Cancer Resource Centers and close personal friend of the Forster family, knows how badly cancer patients need hope. 

“Going through cancer treatment is incredibly draining on every aspect of yourself and your family,” said Hagerty. “The idea with Annabelle’s Hope is to give patients little hopefulness gifts so they have something to look forward to.”

Inspired by Forster’s love of daffodils, patients receive daffodil blooms in the spring, a bulb in the fall to plant, flower seeds in the summer and mistletoe in the winter. The program is supported by donations from Greengable Farms and Athena and Dave Nofziger. 

“My mother was just a daffodil lady,” said Monte Forster, Annabelle’s son. “She loved people and was a giving person who would do whatever she could to help.”

As the story goes, a woman had written to the local paper upset because someone had picked all the daffodils in her yard that she had been growing for her daughter’s wedding. Forster saw the letter, contacted the paper and invited the woman to get as many daffodils as she needed from Forster’s own garden. In her thanks, the woman coined Forster the “good Samaritan.” 

Hagerty believes this new project of hope perfectly reflects Annabelle and the generous spirit of the Forster family. 

“Flowers mean so much to people,” said Monte, who counts 150 varieties in his mother’s collection. “Daffodils are for hope for the future, but also to give people a brighter day today.”

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