Lauren Groves has lived in Casper for fifteen years, longer than she's lived in any one place. "It really feels like home to me." The lack of traffic, friendly people, and snow are some of her favorite things about it here. She's part of a group that knits breast prosthetics for breast cancer survivors.

Groves sat down with K2Radio News to discuss the nonprofit Bosom Buddies of Wyoming.

Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media
Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media

One of Groves' motivators was her own mother who was a breast cancer survivor.

"She was always particular about how she dressed and loved clothes, and when she had her masectomy she had a lot of radiation that made her skin very sensitive. She had a breast prosthetic, but she couldn't tolerate that silicone next to her skin and it ended up in a drawer, and she would just wear baggy clothes that didn't show her breasts. She would've loved bosom buddies."

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Groves has found that after sharing that story with others, so many people have said to her, 'that happened to my mom, or my grandmother couldn't wear her prosthetic.'

Bosom Buddies addresses the women who want to wear a prosthetic but might have trouble tolerating the prescription ones. They're also completely free.

Groves knitted the first pair of bosoms for the group ten years ago.

Bosom Buddies began at the "Dancing Sheep" yarn shop that has since closed.

For the first pair, they found someone who had a double masectomy that was willing to try them out.

That person shared suggestions to make them better, which helped Bosom Buddies make changes. Over the years they've changed a few times, really making the prodcut their own.

Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media
Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media

After the Casper Star Tribune did a story on Bosom Buddies in 2017, they began getting calls from all over Wyoming, but also the country.

The group knew they needed to file to get nonprofit status after that, and since then they have been very active.

This year they've already sent out more than 200 pairs of bosoms.

"The responses are so touching," said Groves, "some of them [the survivors] don't have insurance and can't afford prosthetics and said 'I was wearing a knotted up pair of socks in my bra or panty hose' or going without and feeling embarassed or not comfortable in their clothes, and say 'it means the world to me.'"

They don't chafe skin or get hot when they're out in the summer and active, said Groves.

Bosom Buddies has found "the perfect yarn--mostly cotton, machine-washable and dryable, very soft and smooth against the skin." They stuff them wih a soft fiber fill, creating a comfortable bosom that breathes easily.

The nonprofit started in yarn shops, but after a few years they changed their distribution strategy. They began handing out bosoms to cancer centers and holding meetings in a person's home. "That's our little headquarters now that has a phone number and an address."

The knitters are located around the state, but there are a lot of them right here in Casper. If someone is interested in getting involved or reaching out to request a pair of bosoms, the best way to get in touch with Bosom Buddies is through their Facebook page.

"I want everybody to know that this is available" said Groves.

There is no demand too great, Groves said they will somehow meet the need.

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