Knitting up confidence for women who undergo mastectomy

A group of volunteers of working at a house in Abu Dhabi.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Forty seven-year-old Latha (name changed), who underwent mastectomy, or breast removal, last year at a private hospital here, could not afford to buy a breast prosthesis. Her counsellor told her about handmade, knitted prosthesis and she opted for it.

Using the prosthesis since January this year, she says she finds it very useful. “I found it difficult to interact with people (after the procedure) and now I am able to move about freely and interact with confidence,” she says.

The knitted breast prosthesis is supplied by Saaisha India Foundation, a charitable organisation. Jayashree Ratan, founder of the organisation, learnt about the product and started knitting it four or five years ago. Saaisha India is registered with of the US and is active in India since 2018.

Srividya Gopinath, a Chennai-based volunteer of the Foundation, says that since 2018 Saaisha has supplied about 1,800 knitted prosthesis to beneficiaries across the country. As many as 175 volunteers in India and the UAE knit the prosthesis and send it the Foundation’s centre in Mumbai. While most of the volunteers are experienced in knitting and crocheting, some have learnt it to be part of the cause. “We have tied up with a cotton yarn supplier. The volunteers buy the yarn from him, knit the prosthesis and send it to the Centre. It is filled with poly fibre and supplied to beneficiaries,” she says.

“We check the weaves and there is a pattern guide. We have made Youtube tutorials too on how to knit these,” she says. The average time taken is three to four hours for a knitter, some of whom are working women too. “Of late, with better awareness, there are two or three volunteers who want to come on board almost every day. Some of them are beneficiaries. We want these products to reach women in rural areas,” she says.

The prosthesis, which is reusable, is distributed free of cost to beneficiaries who are referred by hospitals, cancer counsellors or the volunteers.

Ms. Gopinath and Ms. Ratan point out that the treatment for breast cancer is expensive and not all can afford a prosthesis after that. The handmade, knitted products will benefit such women.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 1:36:51 AM |

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