Knitted Knockers, the Bellingham-based volunteer group that makes knitted prosthetic breasts for women, has been named Charity of the Month for October 2015 by the Seattle Seahawks.
The honor, which brings Knitted Knockers a $2,000 donation and free media exposure, was awarded in conjunction with Bonneville Seattle Radio, which includes 710 ESPN Seattle, the radio home of the Seahawks.
“We are over the moon about this opportunity to spread the word to not only the women who can use them, but the potential volunteer knitters,” said Barb Demorest of Bellingham, who started Knitted Knockers almost five years ago. “And not the least, hopefully, generate some more funding, which continues to be a challenge.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, giving a pinkish hue to the Knitted Knockers’ honor along with the Seahawks’ blue and green.
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Demorest said the recognition includes a 45-second radio spot about Knitted Knockers that will air during October on 710 ESPN, KTTH 770, and KIRO 97.3, Bonneville Seattle’s stations.
In addition, Knitted Knockers will have a booth at Touchdown City prior to Monday night’s game in Seattle between the Seahawks and the Detroit Lions. Touchdown City is a gathering for Seahawk fans inside CenturyLink Field Event Center, which is connected to the south end of CenturyLink Field.
“We have been busy knitting Seahawk-colored Knitted Knockers and will be giving them out in our booth,” Demorest said in an email. “We also have Knitted Knockers in all of the NFL team colors, which will be a fun display at our booth.”
Demorest said she and a guest will have tickets to the game and will be on the field along with other breast cancer survivors for the halftime “pink” celebration Monday evening. Knitted Knockers also is invited to a Seahawks preseason game next September, when all 12 charities of the month will be honored.
Demorest started Knitted Knockers after she had trouble finding a comfortable prosthetic breast to wear until she could have breast implant surgery after her mastectomy. Her Bellingham physician, Dr. Cary Kaufman, told her about fabric prosthetic breasts, so Demorest had a friend knit one for her and found it to be lightweight, soft and easy to use.
The knitted knockers can be a temporary prosthesis for women after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, but some women use them permanently. The stuffing can be removed through a hole in the back, so a knocker can be adjusted if the women’s breast changes size during treatment or reconstruction.
Demorest, a retired businesswoman, now volunteers full time finding people to knit and crochet the knockers, and doctors willing to give them free to breast cancer patients. She’s also seeking funding to help cover operating costs for the nonprofit.
Knitters pay for their yarn, while Knitted Knockers covers the cost of mailing the knockers to women who request one or a pair online. To encourage knitters, the Knitted Knockers website has how-to videos and free promotional materials and patterns.
In some places, knitters are already linked up with local doctors. Elsewhere, knitters make and mail them to Knitted Knockers in Bellingham to be shipped to women who request them.
Demorest calls it a “sisterhood network.”
To help: Volunteers can knit or crochet knockers at home or in groups. For details about the weekly group at Apple Yarns in Bellingham, call 360-756-9992 or visit the store at 1780 Iowa St., No. 103.