In memory of Maudie Bedford: Book Lovers club plans Walk to Wellness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and one Russellville group doing its part to help is the GFWC Book Lovers Study Club.
The club’s annual Walk to Wellness is held to bring greater awareness about breast cancer and to raise funds to help local people with screenings and treatment.
This year’s event is set for Oct. 29, and it’s taking place in memory of a special lady: longtime Russellville resident Maudie Darby Bedford, who passed away in March. Bedford was married to attorney and former senator Roger Bedford.
“Maudie raised money and worked to help others with breast cancer while she was undergoing breast cancer treatment herself,” explained club president Brenda Oliver. “She was a very caring person.”
Fellow club member Patricia Cox praised the difference the late Bedford made in the community.
“To know Maudie was to love Maudie,” shared Cox. “She had such a big heart for helping people and could very often be found helping others both financially and emotionally, so we decided we wanted to honor her and everything she did.”
Cox said Bedford was a big supporter of this event in particular.
“Maudie was always willing to do whatever she needed to in order to help. So many times, women can’t continue working or have to take a lot of time off while going through treatment,” Cox noted. “Roger and Maudie have both contributed to our community in lots of ways and mean so much.”
Roger Bedford said holding the event in Maudie’s memory is an honor and a testament to the kind of person she was and the life she led.
“Maudie was a loving, caring person,” he shared. The two were married for 37 years. “She was as pretty on the inside as she was on the outside. She was a very caring, loving mom and wife, and I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.”
Maudie battled breast cancer 12 years ago, explained Roger. That cancer returned two years ago in the form of breast and colon cancer.
Roger explained Maudie had a charity program, administered through a doctor at UAB Hospital, to anonymously provide free wigs to ladies with cancer who could not afford them, as well as a type of cream to help prevent losing eyebrows and eyelashes while receiving treatment.
“We raised the money,” he added, “and the doctor’s nurse was in charge of looking for women who qualified for that kind of help. Maudie was also on the board of the cancer foundation at UAB, and she helped raise a significant amount of money for cancer research.”
Roger battled cancer himself as well, in 1989 and 1990. “She helped me through all of that,” he added, “but she’s in heaven now and out of pain, with her younger sister, Vickie Darby Crenshaw, who died of cancer three years ago.”
Although Maudie has left this earth, she left Roger with many happy memories. He said the two of them were fortunate to be able to travel the world together, noting they liked to take their son, Roger, with them whenever they could. He and Maudie went to New Zealand for a month. They also traveled to Greece, Italy and Spain. When she was younger, she trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris.
“We both loved traveling, history and good food,” he added. “She was a fantastic cook, and she loved cooking. Maudie had an orchard, and some years we got three big boxes full of cherries. She’d take every one of them and make jams and jellies and give them to friends and neighbors and others. She kept a big garden and enjoyed making and sharing homemade food.”
They also enjoyed spending time with their dogs: Bernie, a chocolate lab, and “a little bitty abandoned puppy about the size of a tennis ball” Maudie found outside the gate at their home in Russellville, who she named Bear. Roger shared that at one of the Russellville cancer walks, Maudie walked him Bernie – gussied up in a pink T-shirt – around the track at the stadium.
The fifth annual Walk to Wellness takes place Oct. 29. Registration is $20 and can be done the day of the event in the Touchdown Club room, located upstairs in the field house at the Russellville High School stadium. The first 100 to sign up will receive a free T-shirt. The walk will take place around the stadium track.
For Oliver, this year’s event is extra meaningful since the previous two years’ events were conducted virtually in deference to COVID-19 precautions. She said she’s looking forward to being able to have the event in person again, and she’s eager to continue working to help the club do what it can to make a difference.
Proceeds will be donated to the Russellville Hospital Cancer Fund as well as directly to individuals for screenings, treatment and to help survivors. In some instances, that help has involved giving people money for a mammogram or to be able to go to Birmingham for treatment. Inquiries about help can be made through Russellville Hospital or a club member.