One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer with over 50,000 mastectomies performed in the United State each year.
Prosthetics can be very expensive and uncomfortable, but a group of local women are putting their knitting needles to work, making what are called “Knitted Knockers”.
“The breast prosthetic that they get through insurance are very heavy, gel prosthetic and are very hot and sweaty in Bakersfield triple digit temperatures,” Adventist Health Breast Center nurse navigator Jacqui Engstrand said. “And these ones are soft and light and hey can wear them as soon as their mastectomy drains come out.”
The prosthetics, knitted from soft yarn and stuffed with cotton, were started in Washington state in 2011, but have since been distributed worldwide.They made their Bakersfield debut in 2016 through the Adventist Health Breast Center.
“So far we’ve given out around 420,” Engstrand said.
The knockers are made by local knitters who volunteer their time making the prosthetics in all sizes and colors.
“We have them in every type of skin tone,” Engstrand said. “Recognizing that breast cancer effects all ladies, no matter what ethnicity and race.”
The center is holding its second Knitted Knocker Knit-Off, raising money for supplies, to be able to keep the knockers free to all patients.
“We challenge people to make a set of knockers, one knocker or two knockers, whatever design they want to, whatever fabric, material, yarns that they would like to and enter them for our annual knitted knockers knit off competition,” Engstrand said.
Entry forms for the Knitted Knocker Knit-Off are due Sept 28. It cost $25 to enter.
Knockers will be judged in three categories: most creative, best theme and peoples choice.
For more information and the pattern for making Knitted Knockers click here.
You can pick up an entry form at the Adventist Health Breast Center at 2700 Chester Avenue or click here to download it.