62-year-old Jacqui Crewe is a secondary breast cancer patient who’s trying to do good in the world by raising money for stage four breast cancer. She used to live in Market Drayton, England, and still volunteers there, and that’s now where she hosts her “bra bank,” in the foyer of the Festival Drayton Centre.
The bra bank is a place where people can donate their old, unwanted, or damaged bras to have a positive impact on the global community. Instead of going to a landfill and contributing to a world of waste, these bras get recycled through a textile recovery project and sent to developing countries in Africa and other parts of the world, where they are used to support small businesses and local economies.
These countries are also often places where it’s difficult for a woman to find a bra. In nations like Togo, Ghana, and Kenya, it is still very expensive to produce bras locally, meaning they’re a scarce product to come by in those places and very expensive.
For every ton of bras collected, an organization called Against Breast Cancer also receives £700 to fund breast cancer research.
“We are trying to raise awareness for a little-known charity called Stage Four Deserves More,” Jacqui explains. “It is a charity very close to my heart, as I am a stage-four patient myself.”
Jacqui, who now lives in Newport, is undergoing treatment for her metastatic breast cancer. The cancer was discovered in her bones and lungs seven years after her initial diagnosis.
“When I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2006, they said after five years you should be confident it is gone and there is no chance of secondary,” she says. “I got to seven years and then I got symptoms again. Many symptoms aren’t known and aren’t raised with GPs.”
That is why the charity Stage Four Deserves More is so important to Jacqui, since it sends care packages to people with secondary cancer and also funds research projects on metastatic cancer.
“I found about the charity through support groups,” she says. “I had kept my diagnosis all very private, but to be able to promote the charity and raise awareness, I have to raise my head above the parapet.
“The fact is 31 women die every day from secondary breast cancer. Secondary means when a cancer travels elsewhere in the body after having breast cancer. Wherever it goes, it is classed as secondary breast cancer, and it is then called stage four.
“I feel very passionate about the fact not enough research is being done for this type of cancer. People don’t know what symptoms to even look for. And 30 percent of primary breast cancer patients go on to have secondary breast cancer.”
The fact of the matter is that primary breast cancer cannot kill a person until it becomes secondary breast cancer. Secondary breast cancer is the only type of fatal breast cancer. Therefore, it’s very important that more research be undertaken about secondary cancer, also known as metastatic or stage-four cancer.
We all know every woman has old bras lying around that don’t fit or are worn out. So if you ever happen to be in the Market Drayton area, be sure to stop by the Festival Drayton Centre and drop them off. Your donation will cut waste, help clothe women, support small businesses, and contribute to a donation to cancer research.