Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Knitted Knockers

Breast Cancer is a malignant Timor that starts in the breast cells.
It can grow into the tissues surrounding the breast or spread to other parts of the body.
The majority affected are women but men can be diagnosed with breast cancer too.
A lump in the breast is the most common sign to look out for however if you have a lump in your armpit, changes in the size and shape of the breast, skin changes and/or nipple changes then I would suggest you seek medical advice from a professional.
I've previously written a blog about skin cancer and interviewed a lady who was diagnosed with it, and I've written about breast cancer after finding a label called "coppafeel" inside a bra I bought.
However, I wanted to bring your attention to Knitted Knockers, a charity of volunteers who knit breasts for women who have had a mastectomy.
Here is my interview with a lovely lady called Barb from the USA.
After speaking to Barb, it came to my attention that here in Ireland there is a Knitted Knickers charity too but I didn't know this when I contacted Barb.
If you live in Ireland and wish to get in contact here is a link to their social media  https://m.facebook.com/Knitted-Knockers-Ireland-908624435842858/

Knitted Knockers USA Interview:

When was Knitted Knockers established, by whom was it established, and why? 
I founded knittedknockers.org in 2011 after having a mastectomy. 
My friend made me a beautiful “knitted knocker” that was soft, light, huggable, could be worn in a regular bra and best of all was made by someone who cared.  The traditional breast prostheses can be hot, heavy, expensive and my doctor told me most women were not satisfied with them.
I did not invent knitted knockers. 
To the best of my knowledge the first pattern was developed by Beryl Tsang and she called them Tit Bits. 
Then a young woman from the state of Maine in the US who owned a yarn shop had a mastectomy. 
She made one for herself and proceeded to share it with others.
Her friends came up with the name Knitted Knockers. 
When I contacted her in 2011 to see if I could help out she said she was no longer in business and unable to continue providing knitted knockers. 
She was thrilled that I was interested in providing them to those that wanted them.

Is Knitted Knockers a profitable business or a charity? 
Knitted Knockers Support Foundation aka knittedknockers.org is a non profit charity run 100% by volunteers and survives from donations.

At what cost are the knitted breasts?  Women can request their free knitted knockers at knittedknockers.org
We send them all over the world.  Donations are always gratefully accepted but never required.

Apart from knitted breasts, do you make/sell other products? 
No, our mission is to connect volunteer knitters with breast cancer survivors to provide free knitted knockers. 
We do various fundraising events to help generate the funds to continue providing knitted knockers free to the women who can use them.

When an order is placed what information is required from the buyer? 
Women can request their knitted knockers at http://www.knittedknockers.org/request-a-knocker/
She can request her size (A-DD or larger upon request), her color preference, whether she needs a single or pair, and any other information she feels is pertinent, such as allergies, etc.

How do you dispatch your goods and how long is delivery? 
We mail out orders. 
We try to send them out within 2 weeks of receiving the order. 
Sometimes it takes a bit longer if we run short of a size or color preference.

Are the knitted breasts adjustable? 
We leave the backs open a bit so that stuffing can be added or removed as needed. 
They also work well for women who have had a lumpectomy and radiation which can cause a breast to shrink. 
By simply removing most of the stuffing it can be laid over the existing breast to fill the gap and balance things out. 
After adjusting stuffing our pattern allows for the knocker to be loosely cinched up allowing for future adjustment as needed.

How do you gain funding? 
Some grateful recipients donate funds.  We run fundraisers and there is a “make a donation” link on our website.  
The knitters provide their own yarn so the funds are used for postage, packaging, print materials, stuffing, etc. 
We are very particular about the yarn used since they will be worn against sensitive, scarred skin. 
It must be very durable as it will be worn every day and must remain soft after washing. 

Do you have  website? 
Yes, our website is knittedknockers.org.  Our patterns are free and have been downloaded 88,000 times. 
We have video tutorials on how to make great knitted knockers. 
Our videos have been viewed 80,000 times. 
We have a Facebook page with 11,000 likes and are on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter (@knitted_knocker) and Google Circles.

What additional information can you share with me?
We are always looking to inspire and equip knitters all over the world to provide these free little gifts of comfort to the women in their communities. 
Groups can register on our website so others can find them. 
We provide print materials to medical clinics, knitter and crocheter groups to help get the word out as well. 
We currently have 1 group operating in Ireland that is registered with knittedknockers.org and we are working with 2 others that will be registered soon.

Here is a message I quoted from the lovely lady called Barb who kindly answered my questions above.
"Thank you so much for helping spread the word"
And that is exactly what I'd like for you, my readers to do.
Please share the link to this blog with all your friends and family.

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