Local knitting club makes homemade prosthetics for breast cancer survivors

KnitWits meets at the Riverton Free Library every Wednesday morning

Local knitting club KnitWits meet at the Riverton Free Library to make Knitted Knockers for breast cancer survivors. Clockwise from lower left are Sylvia Barclay, Carol Burns, Shirley Hunn, Pat Brunker, Dottie Landoldt, Karen Healey, Mindy Ryan, Kit Miller and Susan Dechnik.

KnitWits, a local knitting club based at the Riverton Free Library, is knitting prosthetics for breast cancer survivors. The prosthetics, called “Knitted Knockers,” are a warm, handmade, lightweight alternative to traditional breast prosthetics. And, unlike expensive prosthetics, Knitted Knockers are free to whomever needs them.

“I frankly didn’t know if the library would go for it, but they embraced it,” Palmyra resident and Knitted Knockers local organizer Karen Healey said.

Knitted Knockers is a national organization based in Washington. The knockers are “soft, comfortable, beautiful, and when placed in a regular bra, they take the shape and feel of a real breast,” according to Knitted Knockers.

The KnitWits have set a goal of knitting 100 knockers before May. To achieve this, Healey says the club needs more knitters. Since making a knitted knocker takes several hours, 100 prosthetics is a hefty goal for the small club.

“When we started, my goal was going to be about 20 or 30 — we have that already,” Healey said.

Knitted Knockers Local Organizer Karen Healey holds a basket of knockers handmade by the KnitWits club.

Healey says the club is looking for intermediate to advanced knitters and crocheters and will provide coaching if needed. The club will also provide yarn and patterns to all volunteers.

KnitWits is a relatively new club that meets at the library every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Right now, the majority of the 10 members are focusing on making the Knitted Knockers.

Healey says part of the reason she decided to bring Knitted Knockers to the library is because of the Porch Club of Riverton’s bi-annual Paint the Porch Pink Breast Cancer walk. Many KnitWits members are also members of the Porch Club, a nonprofit women’s club whose mission is “inspiring, encouraging, educating and bettering its membership and the global community,” according to the club.

The three-mile walk raises money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and this year’s walk will be held on May 21. The KnitWits will have a table set up at the walk and will be giving out Knitted Knockers.

“Any woman who needs it or knows someone who can use it, they can take them for free,” Healey said.

Healey urges anyone interested in participating to watch the video on the Knitted Knockers homepage at www.knittedknockers.org.

“There is something about that video that really touched me to start this group,” Healey said.

The seven-minute video features KnittedKnockers.org founder and breast cancer survivor Barbara Demorest, who talks about her struggles with returning to work and life comfortably after her mastectomy. She says after learning about Knitted Knockers from her doctor and having a friend knit her a set, she created the site to connect knitters with breast cancer survivors. Demorest’s goal is to spread the word so local groups, such as KnitWits, will make Knitted Knockers for local survivors.

In addition to volunteers, KnitWits is also looking for sponsors. The knockers must be made with soft, washable, high quality yarn, which can be expensive. As KnitWits is a nonprofit organization, all donations are tax-deductible.

Those interested in volunteering or donating can attend a meeting at the library or contact Healey at (856) 829–2476. If you or someone you know is a breast cancer survivor and would like to request a Knitted Knocker, contact Healey. For those who aren’t local, knockers can be requested from the Knitted Knockers website.

For more information, visit www.knittedknockers.org.