AVON LAKE, Ohio – Inside the Lake Avon Public Library, you will find a section of materials that are not meant to be returned in the same condition in which they were borrowed. The library is one of the only libraries in the country to adopt an ambitious project to boost the confidence of breast cancer survivors.
“There is a lot of good that comes out of this,” said Laurie Tierney, a board member of Friends of the ALPL who first proposed the “Knockted Knockers” idea.
Tierney beat breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2011. She survived the disease for the second time in 2020, but a life-saving mastectomy also left her self-conscious. .
“It’s part of your own self-esteem. Unfortunately, we look at people and we judge people by how they look,” she said. “I wear thick sweaters and sweatshirts. Then I go to get a prosthetic. And the prosthetic is so heavy and huge.”
Often uncomfortable, heavy, and expensive breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomy or other procedures have inspired the creation of a knitted or crocheted alternative. Knitted Knockers It started with a group of volunteers in Washington, before knitting groups, craft stores and individuals adopted the idea across the US and abroad.
Tierney’s daughter-in-law introduced her to the concept while traveling in North Carolina. When she returned to Lake Avon, she knew it was something that could be caught locally.
“I went to see the girl, the head [ALPL] knitting group and I said, ‘Can you knit these?’ And she said, “Sure!” “Tierney said.
The library has applied for funding so that it can provide kits complete with yarn, needles and patterns for free. In December 2021, it launches the program with 250 kits.
“We really only need the manpower, which is volunteers knitting and crocheting. And they come out in droves,” said Shea Alltmont, ALPL communications director.
She explained that the initiative has garnered support from groups and individuals across Northeast Ohio and beyond. Earlier this year, an unnamed donor who lost several loved ones to breast cancer gave $5,000 to support the ALPL Knockers program.
“It was amazing – an explosion of passion, dedication and a desire to help,” says Alltmont.
In less than four months, the library distributed about 500 kits to at least 235 volunteers.
“It was a very easy way for me to contribute. It’s nice to be knitting in soft, bright colors on a dreary day here and feeling like you’re doing something nice,” says knitter Denise Walsh.
The finished product is freely available to anyone in need.
“It makes a lot of people feel a lot better about themselves,” says Tierney.
If you are interested in creating or receiving Knockted Knockers, you can visit the Avon Lake Public Library at 32649 Electric Blvd, Avon Lake, OH 44012 or click this link.
Find other Ohio Knitters groups and get more information about the initiative by multiply here.
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