Local ‘knocker knitter’ awarded by Queen for breast cancer support

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Some of the comfort aids Midlands Crafters 4 Breast Cancer provide free of charge

A local woman has been awarded as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year. 

Joanna on BBC Breakfast talking about Knitted Knockers a few years ago

Joanna Dervisoglu from Northfield is to receive the British Empire Medal for her services to women following mastectomy surgery.

After knitting prosthetic breasts for US based charity Knitted Knockers, Joanna was approached by a post-mastectomy patient from Somerset Kay Coombes. They decided a UK branch was needed and Joanna founded Knitted Knockers UK in 2014.

The 100% cotton knitted prosthetic breasts are around 5 times lighter than silicone counterparts, slip easily into a bra and are breathable and more comfortable on the skin for women who have undergone breast surgery.

‘Knitted Knockers’ are lighter and softer on the skin after breast surgery

Gaining a lot of support over the last 5 years, Knitted Knockers UK has grown across the country with many local groups and individuals knitting or crocheting hundreds of knockers a month.

The charitable organisation distributes the prostheses to women post mastectomy or lumpectomy free of charge.

Joanna is now the Chair of Trustees of Midlands Crafters 4 Breast Cancer.

As well as providing knitted knockers – for every day or swimming wear – MC4BC also provide other items for women and men undergoing treatment for or recovering from breast cancer.

Colourful seamless cotton beanies knitted with love by MC4BC members

These include stuffed heart shaped support pillows, chemo beanie hats and knitted cotton washcloths.

On receiving her award from the Queen Joanna said: “I am honoured to have been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queens birthday honours list 2019.

“Although I am the person receiving it, the award belongs to all those who have ever knitted a knocker, a wash cloth, chemo hat or made a post mastectomy cushion.

“More importantly, I also accept it for all those women and men, past and present who have faced the huge challenge of breast cancer, the treatments and the aftermath.”

A former teaching assistant, Joanna is now project manager at the New Starts charity in Frankley and a unit leader of 1st Frankley Rainbows and 271st Birmingham Brownies.

When she’s not working, guiding or knitting knockers, she carries out other volunteer roles in the community, such as cooking at Longbridge Foodcycle.

Our congratulations to Jo, who we hear is busy picking out a new hat….!

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about MC4BC you can:

  • visit their website,
  • follow them on Facebook or
  • pop into the MC4BC Knit, Natter and Info Day at the Community Hub, John Lewis, Grand Central, Birmingham between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 9th June 2019. [MC4BC hold regular drop-ins at John Lewis and M&S in Birmingham city centre. Keep an eye on their web page or facebook for future dates]

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