Knitting for a cause

Four women join the Knitted Knockers movement in Cherry Hill

It all started with an idea that came to fruition a month ago, when Knitted Knockers Project Coordinator Denise Weinberg decided to start knitting for a cause. Weinberg spent countless hours learning how to knit with a two-point needle and networking with hospitals to empower women going through breast cancer treatment. How? By making Knitted Knockers.

Knitted Knockers, a national volunteer-run organization founded in 2011, serves women who have undergone mastectomies or other breast removal surgeries. Volunteers from across the country participate by knitting “knockers” woven out of machine washable cotton yarn and incorporated with stuffing. The Knitted Knocker resembles a breast, woven in an intricate pattern along with various cup sizes and colors for women to insert in a bra.

To get the ball rolling, Weinberg met with office managers, nurse navigators and breast surgeons at breast surgery offices in Virtua Voorhees Hospital and Cooper University Health in Voorhees a year ago to see if they were able to promote her handmade knockers. Both offices agreed, providing a free alternative for women recovering from mastectomies.

“I liked the fact that I could do something to benefit a person at a low point in her life and it just appealed to me,” Weinberg said.

With both offices willing to carry her knockers, Weinberg recruited three more women to help fill the potential future demand while uniting for the cause. Committee members Elaine Belson, Nancy Shubach and Sharon Siegel, the adult program director at the Katz Jewish Community Center, have joined forces to provide women with handmade Knitted Knockers.

Although the group is in its infancy, Weinberg plans to continue to create the knockers and recruit more women.

The group encourages experienced knitters in the community to join and knit for a cause. About one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. Roughly 12 percent of women will face monumental decisions in their life when it comes to treatment, and a Knitted Knocker could provide solace and empower a woman recovering from a mastectomy.

“With this (Knitted Knocker), you could walk out with that and pretend for the moment. To me that would make your mindset so much better. It could be hopefully so readily available. I mean, you hear these stories of people stuff their bras with socks, cotton and tissue, you know? Anything that’s lumpy and bumpy … here it is all in one, put it in. You’re not whole again but you can pretend to be whole to the world,” Shubach said.

To learn how to make a Knitted Knocker or find out more about the Knitted Knocker organization, go to www.knittedknockers.org, or to join the group, contact Weinberg at dewuinberg728@gmail.com.

A meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. or Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Katz Jewish Community Center.