Sorry, sweater that Grandma knitted with love. These knitted knockers take knitting to the next level.
Knitted knockers are plush, handmade bra inserts that serve as a soft, comfortable alternative to traditional plastic breast prosthetics. They’re made for those who have undergone mastectomies or other breast procedures and want to revive the sense of normalcy that they had before the procedure. Breast cancer survivor and founder of the Knitted Knockers Support Foundation, Barbara Demorest, is actively making the plush prosthetics readily available for patients around the world.
Demorest herself was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and underwent a single mastectomy. After the surgery, Demorest wanted to get back to leading a regular life, but she soon found out that making the return to normalcy was more difficult than she expected.
Complications from the surgery made her ineligible for reconstruction, so Demorest turned to prosthetics. She says, “When I was looking for what to do to appear ‘normal’ after my mastectomy, my doctor told me that many women were not happy with the traditional prosthetics as they could be hot, heavy, sticky and expensive, requiring special bras.” Even if Demorest wanted to try traditional prosthetics, she wouldn’t be able to wear them for health reasons. “I called a cancer support line. The woman on the line said you can’t put anything on that scar for six weeks,” said Demorest. “I was devastated. That was the first time I cried because I wanted to get back to life.”
Later, Demorest’s doctor encouraged her to try a knitted knocker. “My friend, Phyllis, made me one and it was amazing. Soft, light, beautiful, huggable and made by a friend,” said Demorest. “The moment I put mine on it was literally life-changing.”
From there, Demorest was inspired to ensure that anyone going through a similar situation would have the opportunity to regain their sense of self in the way that she had. “I did not want to be known as ‘Barb, the breast cancer patient,’ or see the averted glance at my chest when they found out I had breast cancer,” said Demorest. “I hear from hundreds of women who laugh and/or cry when they find that there is this wonderful simple solution to help them re-engage in life.”
According to Demorest, the Knitted Knockers Support Foundation gives out over 1,000 knitted knockers each month with the help of the volunteer groups that knit each knocker with kindness and compassion. Every distributed knocker is completely free of charge because the foundation believes that anyone who is in need of one should have easy access to it. Personally, Demorest feels that it’s good for the patients to know that there are people who care enough to ask for nothing in return.
The foundation’s website largely serves to connect patients in need of knitted knockers with volunteer knitters. It also has information for those who would like to get involved: requesting a pair of knockers, volunteering to knit, or making a donation to the nonprofit. Regardless of participation in the knitted knockers community, Demorest encourages every woman to get an annual mammogram. It could be life-saving.
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