For many women diagnosed with breast cancer, mastectomies and lumpectomies are terrifying prospects that can leave them feeling as though they have lost an essential piece of what makes them women. As daunting as the procedures are, the aftermath is often an even more frightening thought. Having already undergone major abscission, many women opt out of reconstructive surgery while others find that complications means it’s simply not an option
Happily, this is where Knitted Knockers steps in. A charity comprising more than 300 volunteers who knit prosthetic breasts for cancer survivors, these ladies wield their knitting needles as cancer-fighting weapons working to help restore what so many have lost.
Predominantly made of silicone, traditional breast prostheses are often described by users as hot, sweaty, and rather expensive. They also generally require special undershirts or bras to hold them in place, an additional purchase which usually can’t be worn for several weeks or even months after surgery. “I was at a loss as to what to wear to appear ‘normal,’ so that I could get back to work,” said Barbara Demorest, the charity’s founder. Knitted knockers, which can fit snugly in a regular bra, are close to a tenth of the weight of silicone and can recreate the look and feel of a real breast with immediate results.
Sharon Simpson, a breast cancer survivor from the U.K. who will hit her five-year remission anniversary in 2018, found Knitted Knockers online while she was receiving treatment. “Breast cancer isn’t pink and it isn’t fluffy, it’s a nasty horrible disease that changes people’s lives,” she said. Already a prolific knitter before her diagnosis, Simpson found her hobby to be particularly therapeutic while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Since 2014, she’s found new purpose for her hobby: Knitting for all those women who are living through the same scary ordeal she once faced herself.
The volunteers who work tirelessly to produce these mammary masterpieces, “knockerettes” as they affectionately refer to themselves, are often fellow survivors of the disease like Simpson and bring a whole lot of love and personal experience to their knitting prowess. Knitted to varied specifications, big and small, nipples or no nipples, each creation is unique, soft and often colorfully fashioned. They even have water safe ‘Aqua Knockers’ for women who are avid swimmers that can be wrung out and left to dry after use. “My reason and purpose is to make life better for those in the throes of cancer, and that’s why I’m doing Knitted Knockers” Simpson explained.
Knitted Knockers sends close to 300 knitted breasts a month, free of charge to women who have undergone mastectomies or other breast procedures. For Simpson and her fellow volunteers, they find that the most rewarding part about what they do is helping women regain confidence in themselves and their femininity.
Read the full story at the BBC.