The Busters Project
Busters are specially designed accessories for breast cancer survivors offered as an alternative to the commercial silicone prosthetics currently available. They are lightweight, soft and comfortable and can be worn soon after surgery for a full day.
I first heard about this concept thru a yarn shop and downloaded their free pattern and made a sample pair. As a survivor, I think they are absolutely the best solution I’ve found for the unique problems facing mastectomy patients. Because of their special contouring, they must be hand knit, so I decided to make them to share with other survivors as my retirement project. As a long-time fiber artist, I found the free hobby knitter’s pattern to be slow and awkward to knit and not especially comfortable to wear, so I designed my own version from a survivor’s perspective and named them Busters. I have chosen a soft, smooth non-allergenic synthetic blend for my yarns and usually keep a full inventory of cup sizes A-D available at all times.
The Busters Project is not a charity. The concept behind this is to offer them as a personal gift from one survivor to another, and it is strictly volunteer and non-profit. Most of my recipients have joined me as co-sponsors by making a donation to “pay forward” the costs for the next pair I send out, since postage for each pair is three times the material costs. Any surplus funds at the end of the year are donated to the breast cancer support program of a local hospital.
I rely entirely on word-of-mouth to reach my recipients, so please help spread the word – it seems that everybody knows somebody who is a breast cancer survivor and would appreciate a pair of Busters.
If you wish more information or want to request a pair of Busters, contact me at:
With love and support,
GOOD NEWS FIRST!! The Busters Project will continue beyond my time at the helm!
About a year ago, Jan Rillie joined me and Pat Moller as the third member of the team. Besides being a survivor and prolific knitter of Busters (she learned the craft in her home country of Australia), she possesses the organizational skills to manage the business aspects of the project. Before I asked her to make such a huge commitment, I decided to take a survey of my earliest recipients to see if they were still wearing and enjoying their Busters. The response was most positive, so I proposed the idea to Jan – and she said YES!!! I have no plans to retire (again) anytime soon, but I am getting older and it’s a relief for everyone to have Plan B in place.
Which brings me to the second part of my message, the Busters project is unique, both in purpose and presentation. As a breast cancer survivor, I created Busters to offer friendship and comfort to fellow survivors. It is a signed studio project, which puts it in the Arts Field, and it operates under the ethical and business standards of that field. The main difference is in the way things are presented thru the Arts -- everything is done either by direct contact with the artist or thru an advocate. In the case of Busters, the advocates have been hospital recommendations and feature stories in newspapers and TV, as well as word-of-mouth referrals from recipients.
We’ve been hit with a triple whammy -- COVID-19, a financial meltdown, and now, the presidential campaign, -- and my usual sources of advocacy have pretty much been closed to me. The scheduled interview with PBS had to be cancelled due to our lockdown, and I feel that it’s time to do some creative thinking. Especially now, with job loss and loss of medical insurance for so many, the need to spread the word about Busters is greater than ever.
CANCER DOESN’T STOP BECAUSE OF COVID!!! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many local papers and TV stations will be interested in the Busters’ story. The most effective advocates for Busters are those women who actually wear and appreciate them -- SBW’s !!! – and I’m asking those of you who would be willing to help, to take a little time to make some phone calls, emails or personal visits (if possible) to potential advocates in your local area.
If you’re interested in helping, I’m putting together some suggestions for contacts and more detailed information -- send me an email requesting the list and I’ll send it. For those of you who are interested in the original story that ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune on 9-16-18 or the CBS News feature from 11-29-19, here are the links;
We’re on our own with this, so any input or suggestions I can pass along to the helpers is vital. PLEASE ---- send feedback and any ideas you might have on how to reach other survivors!
Stay safe and healthy – wash your hands, wear your mask, and remember social distancing (my parting blessing to all my family!)
Hugs, (from a distance)