Every year at this time when I drive down the streets of Pretoria and see the jacaranda trees in bloom, I know it’s time to hand out knitted breast prostheses. In the month of October, the Bosemvriendinne project of Solidarity Helping Hand embraces women diagnosed with breast cancer as the purple blanket of the jacaranda trees envelops the streets of Pretoria. After all, October is not only the month in which our jacarandas bloom, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is a diagnosis that no woman ever wants to receive, and there isn’t much that anyone on the outside can do to soften the news. Many mastectomy patients who can afford it get breast reconstruction at the same time, but for many women this is a financial dream that remains out of reach. It is here that Solidarity Helping Hand came up with the idea to dedicate their annual knitting project to making soft breast prostheses for needy women.
As I sit at the traffic light and stare at the purple flowers, I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for our community that has stood together right across South Africa and has distributed more than 4,000 knitted breast prostheses to women. Right then and there, I promised myself that I would also learn to knit and knit together next year. I have no idea where to start, but luckily every knitting kit consists of the knitting or crochet pattern, wool, and stuffing material to make one prosthesis.
These packages are available at R60 and are distributed among volunteers who are willing to use their knitting or crocheting talent for a good cause. It is a project that brings the community together in a spirit of giving back and togetherness. Cash contributions are received with open arms and are used to provide more knitting packages to our community who then knit together.
These jacaranda trees must stand side by side and they must be many, otherwise they cannot create a jacaranda city, in the same way we must also stand side by side in masses to create a healthy community. Something that is beautiful, something that is sustainable and something that continues to grow and provide happiness. When we come together, we can reach incredible heights.
The Bosemvriendinne aims to hand over 2,700 knitted breast prostheses to Kansa again this year on 31 October.
The Breast Friends Project is a testament to the truth that although breast cancer is a daunting challenge, there is a community that comes together to offer support and dignity to those who need it most.
The Boesemvriendinne project is not just a gesture of love and care, it has become a network of true friends who stand together in Christ to make a difference in other women’s lives, simply by knitting.
Ladies, let’s pick up our knitting needles, open the bedroom window, let in the sun and while we stare at the jacarandas, LET’S KNIT.
Please visit www.boesemvreindinne.co.za to get involved. You can donate cash so that someone else can receive a knitting package or you can pick up your knitting needle to knit together.
- René Roux is a deputy CEO of Solidarity Helping Hand.