Every year, I always buy a Marie Curie daffodil, usually from one of the volunteers outside Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food in Pinner. As the Great Daffodil Appeal 2019 is soon approaching (March 1- March 31), I started thinking about this article. In light of International Women’s Week around the corner, let me tell you about the amazing lady behind this worthwhile charity: Marie Curie herself.
Born Maria Salomea Sklodowska in Poland 1867, she was introduced to science by her parents who were both teachers. At the time when she was growing up, the government were very strict about what people could and could not study. They imposed a law that girls were not allowed to go to college at all! Marie and her sister went to a secret school, but were constantly tired of hiding from who they truly were and what they wanted to achieve. A talented student, Curie moved to Paris in 1891 to study physics and mathematics. During her time, science was a male domain, but Curie did not let her gender hold her back. She devoted her entire life to the subject, marrying French physicist Pierre Curie along her journey as well.
In my opinion, Marie Curie was an incredibly brave and intelligent pioneer, who helped save so many lives, millions in fact, during World War 1 and all the way to the present day. She discovered two new elements, polonium and radium, which she found could help treat diseases such as cancer. In 1903, her incredible work was noticed, and she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. However, years of being exposed to radiation led to her premature death in 1934, which was an historic but unfortunate event in time. Amazingly, her legacy is still continued by the Marie Curie Organization, who rely on donations to send nurses out to care for people with cancer in their own homes, even during the dark hours of night. It is so important that we support causes, such as this one, because many people would not be living today, if it was not for the intelligence and bravery of Curie all those years ago. Her early career treatment discoveries 100 years ago, has paved the way for new and developing treatments for cancer today.
This is why I always feel a sense of pride, wearing my daffodil every year. It inspires me to keep believing that women can do anything they want to, if they just work hard and keep going.
So the next time you see a Marie Curie volunteer selling daffodil pins, put £1 in their collection box and by a daffodil: it really is an altruistic and worthwhile cause to support, and you might just make a difference to one persons’ life.
By Priya Modi, 8N