Then, now and yet to come………
In 1994 Mary Brennan, from Barnoldswick married to Gus (Sunday name Angus) was diagnosed with breast cancer. In a complete whirlwind of hospital appointments Mary was told by a very “excited” oncologist that she also had non-hodgkins lymphoma – a second type of cancer totally unrelated to the original and that “she was unique and he had never seen this before”.
Mary remembers being driven home from the appointment with her family in the front of the car distraught and numb whilst she sat on the back seat laughing – a typical reaction – a sense of disbelief and sheer hysteria.
Months of treatment followed for Mary as she battled through treatment for both types of cancer. Mary found the support she was given whilst undergoing treatment in hospital to be excellent, however, once outside the hospital environment she felt incredibly isolated and alone and when she recovered set herself the challenge of creating a support group for local people in Barnoldswick & Earby who had had breast cancer and so the name for the group B.E. Bosom Friends was created.
Very quickly Mary realised that there were lots of other people out there who had other types of cancer and who also needed support. Mary being the warm and caring person she is didn’t want to turn anyone away and so the group was opened up to anyone whose lives had been touched by any type of cancer.
Mary says that “the aim of the group is to offer a helping hand and a listening ear to anyone affected by cancer”. Mary has had the help of a number of people along the way including three fellow trustees to bring the group to where it is today. But one thing is for sure, her oncologist was right, she is “unique” Mary set out on a mission and nothing was going to get in her way.
Since the group was launched in 2000, thanks to the generosity of local people and businesses Bosom Friends has raised over £250,000. This has allowed them to extend the support offered to lots of people not just Barnoldswick and Earby but also in Pendle, Craven and the Ribble Valley area.
The Group has always been well supported and has a thriving number of volunteers many of whom now help out in the Bosom Friends Charity Shop which opened in 2011.
The Group not only offers telephone support to sufferers but also do home and hospital visits. The Group hold fun Social Evenings every month and there are Peer Support Meetings for people who want slightly more structured help. The funds we raise also go to helping patients with practical help and sometimes living expenses but also to giving them much needed treats and experiences.