Becky Burns neatly packaged the delicate goodies in a big basket tied with red bows and delivered them to West Clinic Comprehensive Breast Center. The office manager reached down into the basket, smiled and picked up the "breast cancer boobies."
Burns and three other women are part of the Bosom Buddies ministry at CrossRoads United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tenn. The team makes breast inserts for women who had mastectomies because of cancer. "They bring smiles to people's faces when they see the different color inserts," said Burns. "We even make them with nipples and nipple rings." Burns and her teammates giggle as they make them.
It all began in 2013 when a church member's husband died and she wanted to learn how to crochet. Burns got a group together to teach her. As Burns researched, she saw crocheted breast inserts. She wanted to do something for breast cancer survivors. Since then, the women have crocheted more than 100 inserts to give away. They even make some with a holiday theme – orange and black inserts for Halloween; green, red and silver inserts during Christmastime. Some are pink, and some are beige. They also make different sizes to suit all women.
"They are very comfortable," said Mary Farris, Burns' sister and a breast cancer survivor who has been in remission since 2008. Farris, a member of Campbell United Methodist Church in Springfield, Mo., said she prefers bosom buddies to the prosthetic ones she got at the hospital. She also likes the variety of colors and variations.
Burns receives many letters from women expressing thanks for their bosom buddies. The volunteers make some with cotton batting, others with plastic pellets stuffed into pantyhose. The church's pastor, the Rev. Birgitte French, blesses the bosom buddies during Sunday worship at CrossRoads before they continue their journey to breast cancer centers.
For information about starting this ministry in your church, contact Burns at 901-737-3776.
AT A GLANCE CrossRoads United Methodist Church | 9315 E. Shelby Drive, Collierville, TN 38017 | 901-737-3776 | [email protected] | www.crossroadsumc.com | Pastor: Rev. Birgitte French | Average attendance: 112 | Memphis Conference