Free flowers for cancer

A cluster of white four o'clock flowers in full bloom

A cluster of white four o'clock flowers in full bloom

Four-o’clock Flowers Around the World, is a cancer project, which began as a tribute to symbolically fulfill the last request of Jim Donahoe, a cancer patient, who passed away in 1994.

Jim loved growing four-o’clock flowers (Mirabilis jalapa)  since his childhood in New Orleans and throughout his life. He took pride and joy in sharing pieces of his four-o’clock plants and seeds with others to grow in their garden. Sadly, Jim developed mesothiloma from inhaling asbestos as a clerk on the docks of New Orleans. As Jim went through radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Jim said he drew upon the beauty of his four-o’clock flowers to give him the courage and strength to battle cancer. Jim shared seeds from his plants with other cancer survivors, nurses, doctors and other health care professionals in the oncology department at East Jefferson General Hospital. His last request was to see his beloved four-o’clock flowers bloom once more. Unfortunately, Jim passed away before this and his beloved four-o’clock flowers bloomed two weeks later. 

Kevin Donahoe, to ease the grief of his mom, Dot, and to symbolically fulfill Jim’s last request, sent four-o’clock flower seeds from Jim’s plants to postmasters and governors  across America ,asking them to plant the seeds in time for Jim’s July 1994 birthday. Letters poured in from all 50 states from persons stating they planted Jim’s four-o’clock seeds. The cancer project began taking on a life of its own. A number of persons who participated in the project said the four-o’clock flowers could be a “symbol of hope” for cancer survivors.

The project has continued to grow and bloom across America and around the world, as free packets of four-o’clock seeds  are still offered to persons who send a self-addressed, stamped envelope requesting the seeds.

In return you are asked to share the seeds from YOUR four-o’clock plants with others just as Jim did with his family and friends for many years, hence perpetuating Jim’s legacy of sharing his four-o’clock plants.

Visit the Four-o’clock Flowers Around the World Free Cancer Project to learn more about this beautiful symbol of hope.