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Giving back

By Staff
Group of breast cancer survivors raising money to fight the disease
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
A group of local women are continuing their fight against cancer by raising money for research and support programs.
The third annual Bosom Buddies yard sale to benefit the 2005 Morgan County Relay For Life will be held April 8, beginning at 8 a.m., at 904 Crest Circle in Hartselle, across from the Crestline Elementary School playground.
The yard sale will feature a little bit of everything, including baby clothes, toys, furniture, household items and books. The Bosom Buddies Relay For Life team raised more than $900 through last year's yard sale and a total of $4,435.75 for the Relay event.
Bosom Buddies is a support group for breast cancer survivors from Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties. Doris Crowe of Hartselle has been a member since the group was formed in July 1997, just three months after her own breast cancer surgery.
"Bosom Buddies is about support, friends, love and fun," Crowe explained. "It's not sad at all. In fact, I usually laugh from the time I get there until the time I leave."
Aside from fun and fellowship, Crowe said the group does have a larger purpose.
"Bosom Buddies has a goal for every woman to grow old," Crowe explained.
Bosom Buddies, an American Cancer Society program sponsored by Decatur General Hospital, meets on the third Monday of each month at Rehab Access on Danville Road in Decatur.
The group discusses topics such as treatment options and innovations, side effects of prescription medicines, and general women's issues with medical professionals, including oncologists.
Pauline Taylor, 36, of Somerville is the youngest member of Bosom Buddies and has attended for four years.
"We strongly encourage women to do self breast exams, have clinical exams and mammograms," Taylor explained. "We have a member who is in her eighties and then there's me, the baby of the group. You just never know, so it doesn't hurt to start your exams early and keep doing them as long as you live."
Willie Mae Shelton of Danville has been a member since 1998.
"I can't stand to miss a meeting. We have all the answers, and if we don't we pretend we do," Shelton joked.
Bosom Buddies members hold a monthly luncheon, as well as a partner's meal for husbands, attend Camp Bluebird for adult cancer survivors twice annually, and participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Morgan County.
Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight activity that mobilizes communities across the country to celebrate survivorship, remember those who lost their lives to cancer, and raise money for the fight against cancer. This is an American Cancer Society signature activity.
Morgan County's 2005 Relay For Life will be held Friday, May 6 beginning at 7 p.m. and ending Saturday, May 7 at 7 a.m. in Decatur in the Bank Street area around the old State Bank Building.
The theme for this year's event is "Hearts and Hands United Celebrating 20 Years of Hope."
Registration will begin at 5 p.m., followed by a survivors' celebration, an opening ceremony, survivor walk, luminary ceremony, activities for the entire family throughout the event, and closing ceremonies at 7 a.m.
Luminaries for the luminary ceremony, a candle lighting ceremony in honor of cancer survivors and victims, can be purchased for $5 prior to 8 p.m. Friday, May 6. Luminaries purchases are not included in a team's fundraising goal. Gold luminaries are $25.
Registration is a $10 per person commitment fee or a $100 per team commitment fee and team members raising $100 will receive a Relay For Life T-shirt. Teams consist of between 10 and 15 members who raise money by walking, jogging or running.
Taylor said funds raised through Relay events are vital for cancer programs and used for education, research, advocacy programs and support programs, like Bosom Buddies, for victims of the disease.
"I think it's important for the community to know that most of the money raised for Relay stays right here in Morgan County," Taylor explained. "It helps support local programs like Bosom Buddies, Reach to Recovery, Look Good/Feel Good, Hospice care, and much more."
Bosom Buddies will also sell bottled water, sweet treats, pink ribbon breast cancer awareness magnets, and have children's games as fundraising activities at the event.
For further information on registration, fundraising or volunteering for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Morgan County, contact Karen Braswell at 1-800-227-23445, email Karen.Braswell@cancer.org, or visit www.cancer.org.
For more information about Bosom Buddies, contact Allyson Baker, case manager of Women's Services at Decatur General Hospital, at 341-2906. The group is open to all women with a breast cancer diagnosis.

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