The latest in our series of blogs marking Volunteers Week is a truly inspirational – dare we say ‘uplifting’ – story of people making a real difference:
Why Knockers? A simple question, but why not?
Most people have some spare time at some point during their working week – even if it’s only ten minutes, it’s still spare time.
Back in 2013 I (Joanna) was wasting some of my spare time browsing on Facebook. I enjoy knitting and joined a couple of knitting groups.
One day I noticed a link to a group wanting people to knit boobs for ladies in the USA and Canada I wondered why they would want a knitted boob, I soon found out it was for ladies who had undergone mastectomy operations and could not afford prosthetic breasts.
I quickly ordered cotton from the Internet and downloaded the patterns. The 48 hours waiting for the cotton to arrive seemed more like weeks. Finally, the material arrived and I soon had it on my double pointed knitting needles. I was quite pleased with myself and knitted several more. Excitedly I packaged them up and mailed them off to the address in the USA.
I then became aware that ladies in the UK also wanted them, not due to cost but because of their comfort.
Something nagged me and I had the urge to do something I’d never done before: I opened a Facebook group, then a website and Twitter account. From that small link, Knitted Knockers UK was founded.
My volunteer title is Trustee and Treasurer. I manage the website and assist on the Facebook pages. There’s the Twitter account to manage and I organise and mail parcels of supplies to the volunteers who knit for the charity.
There are 272 ladies on our Community page who support us in a variety of ways, and around 150 ladies who knit the prosthetics.
In March 2015 after a lot of hard work by many people the group became a Registered Charity. Lynne and I are two of four Trustees who work extremely hard overseeing the running of the charity, assisted by a team of three who do the administration. Together we make Knitted Knockers UK work.
Of course it wouldn’t work without all our wonderful volunteers.
Hi, this is Lynne and I am Trustee and Secretary. My main task is handling the 200 requests we receive each month for our prostheses. Along with other responsibilities, I process and coordinate all the orders, which are knitted and mailed out by our volunteer knitters. It’s not unusual to find a small gift of a crochet heart or similar packed with the gift of the knitted knockers themselves.
Each Knocker is “Made with love and filled with hope” and made to the recipient’s request of size, style and colour. We offer a knitted and a crochet version in cotton and we also have our Aqua knockers knitted using a soft acrylic and perfect for all water-based activities.
The best part of all is that the Knitted Knockers are free of charge to the lady receiving them, and always will be, however many they need.
Our aims are to “To relieve the needs of women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy by the provision of a knitted breast prosthesis.”
This we do daily.
This is the kind of response Lynne as Secretary receives: “Thank you so much for my Knitted Knockers. Beautifully knitted and packaged with very thoughtful extras! I am so looking forward to a swim with two boobs instead of hiding behind my husband being so conscious of the flat side. Have had a quick ‘try on’ and a perfect fit so hopefully can go back to my nice underwear instead of boring practical bras.”
The volunteers love being a part of this charity and frequently say that they get far more from KKUK than they feel they give.
One of our volunteers said recently: “To be able to help and change lives without anyone knowing I am doing it gives me such a good feeling, whilst being in a position to ensure that the Charity will thrive for the benefit of the women who need us.”
We have volunteers from all walks of life with many talents but the one thing we all have in common is a need to be involved, whether it is by fundraising, by knitting and crocheting, or by spreading the word. We actually call our group a Community, as we not only support the recipients, but we support each other too.
And that is the reason “Why Knockers” make a difference to the lives of everyone involved.
- You can volunteer at Knitted Knockers UK
Lynne Hawksworth, 62, Secretary and Trustee of Knitted Knockers UK, is a retired Head of English, a Mum of two and Granna of four.