Bra bank installed by breast cancer patient to raise awareness and stop waste

A woman living with secondary breast cancer is hoping to raise awareness of the disease by installing a bra bank in Market Drayton.

Jacqui Crewe and Festival Drayton Centre's panto dame at the bra bank in the centre
Jacqui Crewe and Festival Drayton Centre's panto dame at the bra bank in the centre

Jacqui Crewe, who used to live in Market Drayton and now lives in Newport, is currently undergoing treatment for secondary breast cancer and wants to raise more awareness of charity, Stage Four Deserves More.

The 62 year-old has been a volunteer at the town's Festival Drayton Centre for around 16 years, and has now installed a bra bank in the foyer for people to donate their unwanted/old/damaged bras.

The initiative means bras won't go into landfill in the UK, but will help to support small businesses in developing countries in Africa and around the world.

Together with the charity's recycling partners, its textile recovery project prevents these bras going into landfill before giving them a new lease of life in countries such as Togo, Ghana and Kenya, where bras remain expensive to produce locally.

For every tonne of bras collected, Against Breast Cancer receives £700 to fund research.

Jacqui explained: "We are trying to raise awareness for a little known charity called Stage Four Deserves More. It is a charity very close to my heart as I am a stage four patient myself.

"I found about the charity through support groups. 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 per cent of primary breast cancer patients go on to have secondary breast cancer."

Jacqui's secondary breast cancer was found in her bones and lungs seven years after her original diagnosis in 2006.

"Mine is in my bones and lungs, but I have been living with secondary breast cancer for eight years now," she said. "I am doing well on the treatment.

"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. I got to seven years and then I got symptoms again.

"Many symptoms aren't known and aren't raised with GPs."

Stage Four Deserves More recently hosted a campaign in Manchester where 31 women, including Jacqui, represented the 31 women who die every day.

She said: "We each told a bit of our story in a video recording which had then been turned into a QR code. The code was put on 31 pink perspex women so people could hear our story.

"It is travelling all around the country in shopping centres and towns."

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