1743. Joanne Harris
Joanne Harris, from County Down, is the co-founder of ‘Knitted Knockers NI’, a volunteer run knitting group which makes thousands of knitted bra implants for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast.
Joanne set up the Northern Irish branch after one of her life-long friends underwent breast cancer treatment, and whilst searching for more information about prosthetic and bra implants, came across a Knitted Knockers branch in the USA which encouraged people to make their own. Since starting out in 2016, Joanne has built up a 120-strong team of volunteers who also make swimwear pads and implants in a range of skin tones to cater for a diverse range of women, and on average produce 3,000 knitted prostheses a year. This included continuing to produce items throughout the pandemic, with the volunteers responding to a post-lockdown surge in uptake in June 2021 and delivering 1,000 knitted implants to hospitals.
Joanne set up ‘Knitted Knockers of Northern Ireland’ with support from her daughter and fellow Point of Light Hope Graham (pictured above, outside Downing Street, while raising awareness of support for breast cancer services in Northern Ireland).
“I wish to thank The Prime Minister and everyone at Points of Light for honouring me with this award in recognition for founding ‘Knitted Knockers of Northern Ireland’ and The Clubhouse. We are a community of Volunteers, without whom, none of what we do would be possible. We come together to support those affected by Breast Cancer. I wish to take this opportunity to thank every one of our Members and Volunteers who give of their precious time to help us knit, sew, crochet, stuff and pack in order to produce and deliver free hand knit 100% Cotton Breast prosthetics as well as post-surgery comfort kits, (cushion, drain bag and soap massage bar) to breast cancer survivors across Northern Ireland, bringing confidence and comfort to thousands of women that have had mastectomies. “The Clubhouse” was established in 2017, as a creative and social space to further support other breast cancer survivors.”