Waterdown volunteers knitting to make a difference in cancer patients' lives

News Oct 21, 2015 by Jennifer Takaoka, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

‘Tis the season for warm woolies, but not just scarves, hats or mittens; many Canadian knitters have been hard at work making “knockers,” prosthetics for women who have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer.

The lightweight,100 per cent cotton “Knitted Knockers,” have become a popular alternative to silicone prosthetics.

The Knitted Knockers organization was started in the United States by breast cancer survivor Barbara Demorest in 2011. Demorest was unable to receive or wear prosthetics for six weeks after having reconstructive surgery, but couldn’t carry on with her life without them. After someone suggested a knit alternative, she had a friend create them for her. Inspired by how they helped her, she began to create them for others in the same situation.

Knitted Knockers was born and has since expanded to the United Kingdom and Canada.

Nancy Thomson founded Knitted Knockers of Canada out of her home in Waterdown in March of this year. She had already been involved with a number of breast cancer charities and when she heard about Knitted Knockers, she put her skills to work to knit a pair for a friend’s mother who was fighting breast cancer. 

“(My friends) started telling their friends about it; people that they know that have breast cancer,” said Thomson, “And all of a sudden, I’m finding myself making these and thinking, ‘If these are just the people I know, what about the people that I don’t know?’”

This ignited a passion not only from Thomson, but others who had heard about the organization within Canada, too. Branches are being established in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Newfoundland. Since its launch, the Ontario branch has shipped more than 500 knockers across the country.

Each pair of Knitted Knockers is created by a volunteer, who matches the size to specifications provided by the recipient, filled with a special stuffing blend provided by Eversoft and shipped in an envelope with a card and washing directions. Whether they are a temporary solution after surgery, to wear as a comfortable “at home” pair, or to wear full time, the knockers are free of charge to all women receiving them.   

“There is no catch. They’re absolutely free, so we don’t charge the recipient,” said Thomson, “We rely on donations to mail them out. We get donations from recipients who . . . want to provide (knockers) to another woman. So they’ll send us a donation, but they can’t pay for the actual knocker.”

Silicone prosthetic breasts vary in cost by province. Thomson explained that they can range from $200-$750 and though the government may be able to compensate for some or all of the cost, it can take weeks to receive them or be able to wear them as they are heavy and can cause a lot of perspiration that may irritate the affected area. Surgeons sometimes recommend wearing knockers instead of silicone prosthetics until the chest is healed or before certain types of reconstructive surgery.  

“Everybody’s going to use them a bit differently,” said Thomson. “It’s just the fact that it’s another option that’s available for these people.

Several knitting clubs, guilds, and lovers of the craft are the driving force behind Knitted Knockers. Some hold weekly or monthly meetings, where they work together to knit for the organization. Knitted Knockers is also a huge supporter of the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton. In early October, several knitters spent hours in the breast cancer centre to provide knockers right away to patients, sporing pink outfits and using pink yarn. 

“We’ve really aligned ourselves with Juravinski,” said Thomson.

“We did a “knit in” there last week where we had 10 members of those various knitting guilds in the lobby of the breast cancer centre actually making the knockers.”

With all the knockers that are being made, Thomson feels the love from both the recipients and the knitters.  She receives a lot of positive feedback from both that give her hope and fuel her passion for charity.

“(The recipients) are going through a really difficult time and most of the feedback from them is (they) can’t believe that a stranger made this specifically for (them).  It’s not something that was made by a machine. It’s a stranger out there that cared enough to actually make something handmade...and I think that the knitters feel that way as well.”

Knitted Knockers of Canada is always looking for knitters, volunteers to help with stuffing and shipping, and donations. Patterns and video tutorials are available on their website. Completed knockers can be left at Spun Fibre Arts or BodyMed Boutique in Burlington, The Wool Bin in Oakville, or any other designated drop-off centre listed on the website.

For details on how to get involved or request a knocker, visit www.knittedknockerscanada.com or email nancy@knittedknockers.com.

Waterdown volunteers knitting to make a difference in cancer patients' lives

Lightweight "Knitted Knockers" breast prosthetics an alternative for cancer survivors

News Oct 21, 2015 by Jennifer Takaoka, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

‘Tis the season for warm woolies, but not just scarves, hats or mittens; many Canadian knitters have been hard at work making “knockers,” prosthetics for women who have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer.

The lightweight,100 per cent cotton “Knitted Knockers,” have become a popular alternative to silicone prosthetics.

The Knitted Knockers organization was started in the United States by breast cancer survivor Barbara Demorest in 2011. Demorest was unable to receive or wear prosthetics for six weeks after having reconstructive surgery, but couldn’t carry on with her life without them. After someone suggested a knit alternative, she had a friend create them for her. Inspired by how they helped her, she began to create them for others in the same situation.

Knitted Knockers was born and has since expanded to the United Kingdom and Canada.

Nancy Thomson founded Knitted Knockers of Canada out of her home in Waterdown in March of this year. She had already been involved with a number of breast cancer charities and when she heard about Knitted Knockers, she put her skills to work to knit a pair for a friend’s mother who was fighting breast cancer. 

“(My friends) started telling their friends about it; people that they know that have breast cancer,” said Thomson, “And all of a sudden, I’m finding myself making these and thinking, ‘If these are just the people I know, what about the people that I don’t know?’”

This ignited a passion not only from Thomson, but others who had heard about the organization within Canada, too. Branches are being established in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Newfoundland. Since its launch, the Ontario branch has shipped more than 500 knockers across the country.

Each pair of Knitted Knockers is created by a volunteer, who matches the size to specifications provided by the recipient, filled with a special stuffing blend provided by Eversoft and shipped in an envelope with a card and washing directions. Whether they are a temporary solution after surgery, to wear as a comfortable “at home” pair, or to wear full time, the knockers are free of charge to all women receiving them.   

“There is no catch. They’re absolutely free, so we don’t charge the recipient,” said Thomson, “We rely on donations to mail them out. We get donations from recipients who . . . want to provide (knockers) to another woman. So they’ll send us a donation, but they can’t pay for the actual knocker.”

Silicone prosthetic breasts vary in cost by province. Thomson explained that they can range from $200-$750 and though the government may be able to compensate for some or all of the cost, it can take weeks to receive them or be able to wear them as they are heavy and can cause a lot of perspiration that may irritate the affected area. Surgeons sometimes recommend wearing knockers instead of silicone prosthetics until the chest is healed or before certain types of reconstructive surgery.  

“Everybody’s going to use them a bit differently,” said Thomson. “It’s just the fact that it’s another option that’s available for these people.

Several knitting clubs, guilds, and lovers of the craft are the driving force behind Knitted Knockers. Some hold weekly or monthly meetings, where they work together to knit for the organization. Knitted Knockers is also a huge supporter of the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton. In early October, several knitters spent hours in the breast cancer centre to provide knockers right away to patients, sporing pink outfits and using pink yarn. 

“We’ve really aligned ourselves with Juravinski,” said Thomson.

“We did a “knit in” there last week where we had 10 members of those various knitting guilds in the lobby of the breast cancer centre actually making the knockers.”

With all the knockers that are being made, Thomson feels the love from both the recipients and the knitters.  She receives a lot of positive feedback from both that give her hope and fuel her passion for charity.

“(The recipients) are going through a really difficult time and most of the feedback from them is (they) can’t believe that a stranger made this specifically for (them).  It’s not something that was made by a machine. It’s a stranger out there that cared enough to actually make something handmade...and I think that the knitters feel that way as well.”

Knitted Knockers of Canada is always looking for knitters, volunteers to help with stuffing and shipping, and donations. Patterns and video tutorials are available on their website. Completed knockers can be left at Spun Fibre Arts or BodyMed Boutique in Burlington, The Wool Bin in Oakville, or any other designated drop-off centre listed on the website.

For details on how to get involved or request a knocker, visit www.knittedknockerscanada.com or email nancy@knittedknockers.com.

Waterdown volunteers knitting to make a difference in cancer patients' lives

Lightweight "Knitted Knockers" breast prosthetics an alternative for cancer survivors

News Oct 21, 2015 by Jennifer Takaoka, Special to the Review Flamborough Review

‘Tis the season for warm woolies, but not just scarves, hats or mittens; many Canadian knitters have been hard at work making “knockers,” prosthetics for women who have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer.

The lightweight,100 per cent cotton “Knitted Knockers,” have become a popular alternative to silicone prosthetics.

The Knitted Knockers organization was started in the United States by breast cancer survivor Barbara Demorest in 2011. Demorest was unable to receive or wear prosthetics for six weeks after having reconstructive surgery, but couldn’t carry on with her life without them. After someone suggested a knit alternative, she had a friend create them for her. Inspired by how they helped her, she began to create them for others in the same situation.

Knitted Knockers was born and has since expanded to the United Kingdom and Canada.

Nancy Thomson founded Knitted Knockers of Canada out of her home in Waterdown in March of this year. She had already been involved with a number of breast cancer charities and when she heard about Knitted Knockers, she put her skills to work to knit a pair for a friend’s mother who was fighting breast cancer. 

“(My friends) started telling their friends about it; people that they know that have breast cancer,” said Thomson, “And all of a sudden, I’m finding myself making these and thinking, ‘If these are just the people I know, what about the people that I don’t know?’”

This ignited a passion not only from Thomson, but others who had heard about the organization within Canada, too. Branches are being established in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Newfoundland. Since its launch, the Ontario branch has shipped more than 500 knockers across the country.

Each pair of Knitted Knockers is created by a volunteer, who matches the size to specifications provided by the recipient, filled with a special stuffing blend provided by Eversoft and shipped in an envelope with a card and washing directions. Whether they are a temporary solution after surgery, to wear as a comfortable “at home” pair, or to wear full time, the knockers are free of charge to all women receiving them.   

“There is no catch. They’re absolutely free, so we don’t charge the recipient,” said Thomson, “We rely on donations to mail them out. We get donations from recipients who . . . want to provide (knockers) to another woman. So they’ll send us a donation, but they can’t pay for the actual knocker.”

Silicone prosthetic breasts vary in cost by province. Thomson explained that they can range from $200-$750 and though the government may be able to compensate for some or all of the cost, it can take weeks to receive them or be able to wear them as they are heavy and can cause a lot of perspiration that may irritate the affected area. Surgeons sometimes recommend wearing knockers instead of silicone prosthetics until the chest is healed or before certain types of reconstructive surgery.  

“Everybody’s going to use them a bit differently,” said Thomson. “It’s just the fact that it’s another option that’s available for these people.

Several knitting clubs, guilds, and lovers of the craft are the driving force behind Knitted Knockers. Some hold weekly or monthly meetings, where they work together to knit for the organization. Knitted Knockers is also a huge supporter of the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton. In early October, several knitters spent hours in the breast cancer centre to provide knockers right away to patients, sporing pink outfits and using pink yarn. 

“We’ve really aligned ourselves with Juravinski,” said Thomson.

“We did a “knit in” there last week where we had 10 members of those various knitting guilds in the lobby of the breast cancer centre actually making the knockers.”

With all the knockers that are being made, Thomson feels the love from both the recipients and the knitters.  She receives a lot of positive feedback from both that give her hope and fuel her passion for charity.

“(The recipients) are going through a really difficult time and most of the feedback from them is (they) can’t believe that a stranger made this specifically for (them).  It’s not something that was made by a machine. It’s a stranger out there that cared enough to actually make something handmade...and I think that the knitters feel that way as well.”

Knitted Knockers of Canada is always looking for knitters, volunteers to help with stuffing and shipping, and donations. Patterns and video tutorials are available on their website. Completed knockers can be left at Spun Fibre Arts or BodyMed Boutique in Burlington, The Wool Bin in Oakville, or any other designated drop-off centre listed on the website.

For details on how to get involved or request a knocker, visit www.knittedknockerscanada.com or email nancy@knittedknockers.com.