The history of the monthlong community fundraiser for Children’s Hospital

Daisy Days has Bloomed The year was 1953: That’s when the Daisy Days campaign was founded by the Auxiliary of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a grassroots fundraising effort. Each spring, members of the auxiliary handed out paper daisies on street corners in exchange for donations to the hospital. Why daisies? The flower symbolized the innocence of children.

What started as four-day fund drive leading up to Mother’s Day has evolved into a monthlong event in May and a signature fundraising campaign in the region.

Everything's coming up daisies

Four years after its founding, a thank you luncheon was held for Daisy Days volunteers. The luncheon eventually grew into a philanthropic powerhouse that drew prominent business and community leaders and raised more than $1 million each year. In 2017, CHOP introduced The Runway, a contemporary lunchtime fashion show featuring ensembles curated especially for the event by some of the area’s top boutiques and designers.

Few events have become as woven into the city’s philanthropic fabric as CHOP’s Daisy Days. At different times, it has included a carnival and parades on Walnut or Chestnut streets. In 1963, teen idol Bobby Rydell sang and signed autographs at a Daisy Days event. Schools have always been enthusiastic participants by holding bake sales, hosting pajama days or selling paper daisies.

Today, in addition to participating in The Runway, people can join the 31-Day Challenge — a virtual event in which participants walk, run or jog to raise funds. Hospital supporters can also be part of the Daisy Days campaign by shopping at participating local and national businesses, dining at partner restaurants or giving direct donations.

Since its beginning, the community-wide events of Daisy Days have raised more than $19 million for world-class patient care and pioneering research at CHOP. Won’t you join the Daisy Days movement this May?

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