About Bosom Pals – Our Story

Marie Crowe, Founder Member with Brenda's daughter

Marie Crowe, Founder Member with Brenda Gilbert’s daughter

This is the story of how founder member Marie Crowe formed Bosom Pals Bedford, a group whose aim is to provide support for anyone who has suffered from breast cancer, along with their families and friends.

“I was 32 years old when diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985 and although I had a very supportive husband, I found there was nowhere to go to get help and advice on the “unknown”, no support where to get bras, swimwear, support to answer worrying questions.  No one to talk to who understood all my fears.  I was very lucky, as I mentioned I had a supportive husband and a positive outlook and continued to windsurf and play badminton and lead a normal life.  I felt as if I was the only one with this condition but carried on, had up days and down ones, also tears but got through.

Bosom Pals Mascot, Brenda Marie

Bosom Pals Mascot, Brenda Marie

Some years later in 1994 whilst working as a receptionist at Bedford Hospital I was working alongside Brenda Gilbert who worked on the WRVS helpdesk, when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 1993.  I told her about myself and helped her through it, she said without my help and support she didn’t know how she would have coped as no help was still available.  I did on one occasion attend Cancer Care but felt this mixed group was not for me, I am sure it helped many people but not myself.

Brenda then asked me to set up a support group, and we attended Milton Keynes Bosom Pals, this made our minds up that it was what Bedford needed.  So after lots of advertising, radio appeals, begging for raffle prizes and arranging a meeting hall we were off.  In the meantime, a breast care nurse was appointed, which was brilliant news, so we waited for Gloria Shingler to take up her post and she joined us with the Group.

The first meeting was a great success and attended by many ladies.  We saw this was a much needed support group, and with Gloria’s continued support the group continued and with many of the ladies from this first meeting a committee was later formed and charity status was achieved.

Sadly after just 2 meetings Brenda passed away, I lost a very good friend.  Her three daughters continued to support the meetings and I decided to arrange a fashion show in her memory, myself and ladies from the group were models and the evening was a great success and raised a lot of money for charity.

Later Elizabeth Wiggins was appointed and meant we had the great support of two breast care nurses, the group goes from strength to strength with the hard work of all involved and I am very happy about this and thank everyone, please continue the much needed work ladies!

I am presently living in Spain but frequently visit the web page to see what’s happening.  My best wishes to everybody and thanks once again.”

Marie Crowe

Founder Member

Thanks to Marie for setting up the Group so many years ago and for sharing her story with us.

Whilst Bosom Pals encourages the free exchange of ideas and information, the views expressed by individual speakers are the personal opinions of the speaker, and not necessarily the view of the Group or Bedford Hospital NHS Trust. You are advised to consult your normal health care professional before changing any current treatment regimes.