One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In the U.S., 50,000 women undergo mastectomy each year.
A breast cancer diagnosis is devastating and losing one or both breasts through treatment can be even harder. No one knows that better than breast cancer survivor, Sharon Simpson.
“Breast cancer isn’t pink and it isn’t fluffy, it’s a nasty horrible disease that changes people’s lives,” she told BBC News. “For a woman, losing a breast can be like losing a part of their identity. Looking in the mirror to see a breast that’s either disfigured or not there anymore can be quite harrowing.”
Likewise, the decision to undergo breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy is deeply personal. According to JAMA Surgery, the majority of women, like Simpson, decide against it.
It was while undergoing cancer treatment that Simpson first discovered Knitted Knockers, an organization that provides knitted breast prostheses to breast cancer survivors free of charge. Eager to do her part, Simpson joined the ranks of 250 volunteer groups in 50 states and 14 countries to purl, yarn back, and repeat to create knitted knockers for other women who have undergone a mastectomy.
While 90 percent of breast cancer survivors wear a traditional breast prosthesis for some period of time, silicone gel breast prostheses are known to be hot, heavy, sticky, and expensive. At nearly one-tenth the weight of silicone prostheses, knitted knockers provide a light, soft, breathable, and totally free alternative for women around the world.
In fact, the charitable organization recently sent 100 knitted knockers to breast cancer survivors in Rwanda, where reconstructive surgery is only an option available to few. And with more than 250 medical centers registered within the organization, Knitted Knockers is able to provide a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of knit prostheses (available with or without nipples), directly to patients.
Know a breast cancer survivor who would benefit from a knitted knocker? Encourage her to request one.
Love to knit or crochet? Get involved! Boosting the confidence of women one knit row at a time feels good. “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,” says Simpson.
And making life better is what the organization is known for, as its work and dedication are appreciated by women all over who have used them.
“I got my Knitted Knockers in the mail today and they were wonderfully made,” one woman wrote on the Knitted Knockers testimonials page. “I feel like I have my curves back. Thank you so much for this wonderful thing you do! Every stitch of life is appreciated!”
“I was so very happy to receive these two ‘lovingly-made’ bosoms,'” wrote another. “I am 75 years old, had a double mastectomy when I was only 37 and have had several dozen prostheses in those years. These are truly the best! Knowing that healing hands made them for me, makes them special. I feel your love every day. Thank you ever so much.”
“I received mine in the mail right before I was going out to dinner for the first time since my operation,” another woman wrote. “It was perfect and gave me a boost of confidence to face the evening. It was a bright spot in a very gloomy time for me. ”
If you’re interested in supporting Knitted Knockers and all the good work they do for women affected by breast cancer, make a donation. Your financial support helps cover the cost of sending this caring gift to survivors all over the world.More On