Some of the ‘boobies’ made by the ESRA Tel Aviv knitting group
Story and photo by Lynette Karp
A chat over a cup of tea became another of those enlightening meetings that one so often experiences in Israel when meeting new acquaintances. There seem to be so many opportunities here to do interesting things and so many doors open to welcome volunteers.
Lucille (Lucy) Laketer…..stumbled on an ESRA Tel Aviv knitting group some years back when looking for an opportunity to meet with people and to serve others. For a good number of years this industrious group of some twelve members have met on a weekly basis and have been knitting jumpers for distribution to needy children annually as the winter beckons.
It was a new member of this group who drew Lucy's attention to a site on the web that she had found. An American inspired International group of knitters calling themselves the Knitted Knockers had recognized the need through personal experience for something to literally fill a gap of about six weeks between mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients. A clever knitter was commissioned to create a pattern to knit temporary prophylactics which took some innovative experimenting. But it has resulted in a very suitable pattern advertised on the web amongst a number of other patterns that are a bit more complicated. Lucy was quick to pick this up and start experimenting herself.
For comfort sake only a certain soft cotton works well - wool can irritate a scar. The stuffing is important too - but determination being one of Lucy's fine character traits she experimented and persisted and succeeded in overcoming all challenges. She arrived for our tea with a `bag' full of ready to wear - bright and beautiful `boobies,' in different cup sizes to show me, and assures me that she has a fine stock of the required cotton in many colors for the future use of interested knitters.
A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. Fortunately today medicine has progressed tremendously and breast cancer is often very responsive to treatment. However one has to learn that from personal experience and initially with chemotherapy treatment and the prospect of a possible mastectomy, the diagnosis leaves one faced with great emotional hurdles to overcome.
These enterprising women from this Tel Aviv ESRA Knitting Group are diligently making these useful accessories for women and in so doing are performing a mitzvah of note.
Not an alternative for reconstructive surgery, these boobies fit into a normal brassiere and fill it with comfortable, fun replacements for the few weeks one has to wait before additional surgery can be done. There will be many women very grateful for these innovative substitutes.
There is more work to do now – delivery of the items to social workers in the hospitals who can counsel patients and distribute them; more knitters to join this group who meet every Thursday morning at the Retirement Center in Fichman Street, in Ramat Aviv. Support and encouragement are needed. In America it is a large and growing industry. Israel does not need that, but it does need concerned caring knitters to answer the call here.
Another very worthwhile ESRA project.
Anyone interested in getting involved please call Lucille Laketer at 052 859 7195.