Knitted Knockers are free prostheses for breast cancer survivors
Local breast cancer survivors can receive customizable, knitted breast prostheses (artificial breast forms) free of charge, thanks to area knitters who have taken up the cause. “I learned about the Knitted Knockers program through a Dear Abby column,” says Rhonda Thompson, local organizer for Northeast Iowa Knitted Knockers group. “I was inspired when I learned how these items are changing lives for so many women and I thought – I can do this! So I started a local chapter to benefit local breast cancer survivors.”
Handmade by volunteer knitters, Knitted Knockers are special, soft, lightweight breast prostheses that are very comfortable for women who have undergone mastectomies, lumpectomies, radiation, and/or are undergoing breast reconstruction. They are washable, adjustable, and fit inside a regular bra. The knockers can even be made from acrylic for swimmers.
The Blue Heron Knittery serves as the local collection point where knitters can purchase the special soft yarns at a discount and drop off their finished work. “People who live here like community projects,” says Sarah Iversen, owner of the Blue Heron Knittery. “These local knitters are really making a difference and we have a lot of people asking about this and are excited to join the project.”
“It’s a pretty simple pattern and process,” says Thompson. “I pick up finished knitted knockers at the Blue Heron and add fiber fill which was donated by Walmart in Decorah, and Winneshiek Medical Center has agreed to help me distribute them to women in need.”
Any woman, regardless of provider or location, can visit Winneshiek Medical Center Same Day Services department Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm to choose from a variety of sizes and colors. The knockers are completely free of charge. “The artificial breasts are an alternative to traditional prostheses which can be hot, heavy, expensive, and take quite a while to arrive,” says Deb Tekippe, RN, BSN, Winneshiek Medical Center same day services nurse supervisor. “Breast cancer is a very personal journey for a woman and this project not only addresses the physical challenges associated with breast cancer, but because they are hand made with care, they seem to be filled with hope and have an intrinsic value for the recipient – knowing that someone cares about her.”
“Even if you don’t know how to knit, you can help. Just $10 will help cover the cost for about three of the prostheses or postage to mail them,” says Thompson, who also mails knitted knockers to other areas of the state for people who request them through the national web site.
To learn more about the project and the pattern, visit knittedknockers.org, or contact Rhonda at NortheastIowaKnittedKnockers@gmail.com.