Knitting Group Helps Breast Cancer Surgery Patients

The Knitting Times is proud to publish this article, which has been submitted on behalf of Knitted Knockers, an organisation which aims to help women who are recovering from breast cancer surgery. For more information, please see the links at the end of the article thank you.

A retired English teacher has started a knitting group in Tuscany which helps women who are recovering from breast cancer surgery.

Irene Morrison, 56, originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and now living in Lucca, has formed an Italian branch of the international charity Knitted Knockers.

Knitted Knockers knit or crochet prosthetic “boobs” for women who have undergone mastectomies or lumpectomies and offers an alternative to other prosthetics which some women find heavy to wear or uncomfortable.

With the help of the US-based parent charity and by enlisting local knitters in Lucca and other Tuscan towns, Irene has built up a stock of Knitted Knockers and is looking to hear from women who want to receive the boobs.

Irene, who decided to start the initiative during Covid-19 lockdown, has also received support from knitters in Montecarlo, Monza and Padua, but would like to hear from other volunteers who could support the objectives of Knitted Knockers.

Irene said: “I’ve been knitting since about the age of seven when my mother taught me – I think as a way of keeping me quiet on a rainy day – and it has been a lifelong pastime.

“I think knitting is very therapeutic and during lockdown I found it was a good way to pass the time. I was looking around online to find donation projects that I might get involved in and I came across Knitted Knockers which I thought was an amazing initiative.

“Their website is very comprehensive and has lots of patterns to follow, and although it was a wee bit different because you use double point needles and knit in a circle, I managed to do it. After some initial help and advice from a knitter in France, I started what I believe is the only Knitted Knockers group in Italy.”

Irene and her fellow volunteers now have a range of stock in different sizes and materials – including acrylic which can be used when swimming – and the US charity helped by sending 50 pairs of “boobs” to help get the project off the ground.

She added: “The main issue for women who have undergone surgery is that they are offered prosthetics which are made of synthetic materials which are heavy, uncomfortable, and sweaty. I’ve heard from some women that the prosthetics they were given post-surgery was so heavy that it caused additional pain and was uncomfortable against skin which had just come through surgery.

“So having our boobs which ‘breathe’ and which are washable is quite appealing. They are also easy to use because they are not attached to your body, and you put them into your bra or swimsuit and take them out. They offer the shape without the discomfort and can be washed and dried easily.”

The everday-use boobs are made from mercerised cotton, a process which strengthens the material and makes is durable, before being stuffed with a polyester filling which can be adjusted to different sizes. The Knitted Knockers used for swimming are made with acrylic yarn because the material is lighter and dries faster.

The Lucca knitting group are in the process of contacting clinics where women undergo breast cancer related surgery and are sending sample of their boobs to publicise the charity’s work.

The materials to be used by Knitted Knockers are quite specific and are not always widely available in Europe but Irene has had great support from long-established Lucca wool specialist Lovi Lane in the city’s Via Fillungo.

Irene said: “I have been a regular customer at Lovi Lane since I came to live in Lucca and when I told the owner Paolo Cecchini what I was trying to do he was extremely helpful. He has pulled out catalogues and together we have worked out what materials and colours would work best for our Knitted Knockers and he sorted out supplies of the materials we needed.”

For more information on Knitted Knockers and to receive samples or to volunteer as a knitter contact  knittedknockersitaly@gmail.com or via Instagram and Facebook: @knittedknockersitaly

Issued on behalf of Knitted Knockers Lucca by Sure Public Relations Ltd. For more information contact Stephen Rafferty on 0044 (0)7980 598764 or emailstephen@surepr.co.uk

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