In 1994, Kevin Donahoe lost his father, Jim, after a lengthy battle with cancer. To honor his father, Mr. Donahoe began a campaign to spread "pieces of his father's spirit" across the nation by planting the seeds of his father's favorite flower, the Four O'Clock, in each state. In doing so, he intends to inform the public of the need for increased cancer research.
To achieve his goal, Mr. Donahoe sent letters of explanation, along with Four O'Clock seeds, to two postmasters in each state. In his letter, he asked the recipient to plant the seeds and then to contact him. He soon began to receive requests for seeds from citizens across the nation.
He followed up his initial letter-writing campaign with one directed at the governor of each state and U.S. Ambassadors across the globe. He has received moving responses and pledges to plant seeds from 100 ambassadors, an impressive array of world leaders, and ultimately First Lady Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore. Today he continues to fulfill requests for Four O'Clock seeds as he methodically picks thousands of the pea-sized seeds from his father's bushes.
Mr. Donahoe's service addresses the critical educational and human need for those touched by the disease to volunteer in the fight against it. Volunteer activities include donations of time to help increase public awareness of the disease; preventive health maintenance, and assistance for victims and caregivers; and money to assist needy cancer victims and to support vital research to determine the cause and cure for cancer.
Mr. Donahoe accepts no contributions for his efforts. Instead, he encourages respondents to send donations to the American Cancer Society or other organizations engaged in the fight against cancer.
Through his efforts, Mr. Donahoe has not only increased public awareness of cancer, but he has spearheaded a network of volunteer supporters for local and national cancer groups, and connected people concerned about cancer.
Free Four O'Clock seeds are still available. If anyone wishes to receive the free seeds, they should send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Four-O'-Clocks Around The World
P.O. Box 840185
New Orleans, La. 70184-0185