RGV high schoolers knitting prosthetics for breast cancer survivors


MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — Two Rio Grande Valley high schoolers have teamed up to knit prosthetics for breast cancer survivors.   

Joan Gutierrez and Gaby Markle are juniors at Lamar Academy in McAllen.

They are filling a need, and at the same time, fulfilling their CAS — creativity, activity and service — project required for graduation. Both students are part of their school’s crochet circle, where Markle creates tutorials to teach other students interested in learning to knit and crochet. 

The students said it was one of their teachers who pushed them toward this project, along with their own desire to use their skills to benefit others. 

“I knew how to crochet, but I had only done crochets and scarves and I thought this was something really cool where I could apply all that I had learned and do it for a good cause, of course,” Markle said. 

Markle and Gutierrez teamed up with The Lamb’s Loom, a nonprofit with the mission of teaching people to knit and crochet, to use these skills to serve others.

The prosthetics are called “knitted knockers” and are a part of a global effort to provide women who’ve had mastectomies and other breast procedures with a lightweight, comfortable alternative to typical silicone prosthetics. 

“This is a thing that’s not much talked about, but sometimes women, after having these procedures, they still want to feel like women and things such as the knitted knockers can help them feel that way,” Gutierrez said.

The students started working on the knitted knockers about a month ago and have already recruited a few of their classmates to join their crochet circle and encouraging others to do the same.

While the project is benefitting women in the community, the students say it’s been a relaxing hobby that’s helped them get through the pandemic.  

“I think that crocheting is just a very calming thing to do,” Markle said. “Whenever you’re stressed, you can pick it up and watch tv and do it and you can basically relax and do something really nice for people at the same time.”  

If anyone is interested in helping but does not have the time to learn to knit or crochet, they are encouraged to donate.

“We’re promoting the idea that if some people don’t know how to crochet, maybe they should go to The Lamb’s Loom and buy some yarn, or donate some yarn, so that people who can and have the time to do it will participate,” Gutierrez said. 

Markle and Gutierrez are currently both making about two pairs a week. 

If interested in helping, contact The Lamb’s Loom

For free tutorials and patterns for the knitted knockers, click here

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