END of life charity, Marie Curie, is calling on people across Carmarthenshire to step into spring next month by completing a daily 10,000 step challenge or taking part in a virtual St David’s Day quiz to show support for those impacted by death, dying and bereavement.

Marie Curie’s flagship fundraiser the Great Daffodil Appeal - which is reaching its 35th anniversary next month – has, for the first time, had to cancel all of their iconic public collections for the campaign. The charity is facing a potential loss of over £3 million due to this, but is encouraging the people of Carmarthenshire to support in a variety of creative ways.

One way the charity is hoping their supporters will back the campaign is by donning their trainers, getting out in the great outdoors every day and walking 10,000 steps. The Great Daffodil Appeal is the largest fundraising campaign in the hospice sector and, since it began in 1986, the money raised has helped Marie Curie run its essential frontline services providing care and support to people with terminal illnesses and their families across the UK.

If getting out and about for a walk isn’t your style, you can also sign up to a St David’s Day quiz recorded by Strictly Come Dancing professional Amy Dowden. The quiz – featuring questions all about Wales – aims to discover How Welsh Are You Anyway? and has been developed to help people celebrate the day of our patron saint virtually while supporting the charity.

All donations from the Great Daffodil Appeal will ensure that Marie Curie Nurses, doctors and hospice staff can continue working on the frontline throughout the pandemic caring for people at end of life in people’s homes throughout Carmarthenshire.

Last year, the charity saw a 16.5% rise in the number of people they cared for at end of life, compared to 2019 and their support line saw a 20% increase in calls too.

Ali Discombe, Marie Curie community fundraiser for West Wales, said: “The Great Daffodil Appeal is vitally important to us. Having been held every March for over three decades, this is the first time we’ve had to cancel all of our public collections. This is a huge blow as each volunteer would raise £80 from a collection shift: enough to pay for the equivalent of four hours of nursing care.

“The campaign would normally bring together millions of people across the country to volunteer, fundraise, donate and wear a daffodil and we’re still encouraging people to do this in any way they can in a safe manner.

“Around 300 people a day already miss out on the end of life support they need and we expect this figure to rise as a result of the pandemic, combined with usual winter pressures associated with seasonal flu and the backlog of people who have missed diagnoses.

“In these unprecedented times we need peoples’ support now more than ever. Volunteers play a huge role in helping us raise money, continue our vital work across Carmarthenshire and ensure Marie Curie Nurses can be there to provide end of life care when people need it.”

Amy, who was partnered with JJ Chalmers in the latest series of Strictly, said: “It was an absolute privilege to be able to host this quiz for Marie Curie, and I had such fun recording the questions – but you might have to excuse some of my Welsh pronunciations!

“I learnt a thing or two as well, and I hope you will too. This Dydd Gwyl Dewi, make sure you sign up and donate to discover – How Welsh Are You Anyway? for Marie Curie Cymru.”

Also adding her support to the campaign, singer Bonnie Tyler, said: “The work Marie Curie do is needed now more than ever as the COVID pandemic has had a big impact on their ability to fundraise. That is why I’m encouraging people across the whole of Wales to show their support for the Great Daffodil Appeal in any way they can as every donation means that when the time comes, Marie Curie can be there for people and their loved ones when they need it most.”

During the Great Daffodil Appeal the first annual National Day of Reflection will take place. Since the first lockdown began in 2020, millions of people have been bereaved. Join Marie Curie on 23 March, the first anniversary of UK lockdown, for a day to reflect and commemorate this tragic loss of life.

For more information on how to fundraise, donate or set up a virtual collection, visit: www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil

To sign up to the quiz, email walesfundraising@mariecurie.org.uk and the team will tell you how you can donate and send you a fundraising pack complete with Welsh recipes and other fun activities.