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issues,” Kelly says. “You see many of these

women through their cancer treatment and

form a real relationship with them.”

Fun and affordable

Kelly helps about 20 women a week find

attractive wigs. She’d like to help even

more, but she knows that some women are

hesitant to come into the shop.

“No one wants to lose their hair,” Kelly

says. “That’s why I have made my shop

as fun and inviting as possible. We also

encourage women to bring friends and

family with them so we can have a wig

party! Everyone tries on fun styles.”

Cost is another concern for some women

considering a wig. “I never turn anyone

away because of money concerns,” Kelly

says. “We always make it work.”

Women going through cancer treatment

get 30 percent off their first two wigs. If

someone can’t afford a wig, The SJCH

Foundation has a fund to help.

“I’ve also had cancer survivors come

back and buy a gift certificate for someone

who can’t pay for a wig,” Kelly says. “I

set the certificate aside and use it when

needed. It’s a beautiful way to pay it for-

ward from one woman to another.”

Knitting with a special purpose



Giblin’s own experience

with hair loss helps her

relate to the women she


Where wigs bring about

sweet smiles.


Locks is a full-service wig

boutique located on the

second floor of The AIS

Cancer Center, 2620

Chester Ave., Bakersfield.

To learn more, visit



Local knitters have been working away, Jacqui says. However,

the demand is great, and more helping hands are needed.

Knitters who would like to help can find the pattern online at .

Finished pieces can be dropped off at The AIS Cancer Center.

Donations of yarn or Poly-Fil are also appreciated.

For more information, email: .

The name Knitted Knockers might take you a

bit by surprise, but women who receive these

handmade gifts are more likely to shed tears of

joy and thankfulness.

Knitted Knockers are soft, comfortable, knitted

prosthetics for women who have undergone

mastectomies. They’re given to women who are

waiting for reconstructive breast surgery or to

those who can’t or choose not to have reconstruc-

tive surgery.

The AIS Cancer Center at San Joaquin Com-

munity Hospital (SJCH) is the only place in Kern

County to offer these free prosthetics, thanks to

Jacqui Engstrand, RN, a nurse at the cancer center.

Jacqui actually learned about the Knitted

Knockers project from one of her patients. “I have

been a knitter since I was 7 years old. I immedi-

ately looked the project up online, and decided

it was something I wanted to do for my patients

and other cancer survivors in our community,”

she says. “It combines two of my loves: caring for

cancer patients and knitting.”

What makes these knitted prosthetics so special

is that they are lightweight and can be worn just

four weeks after surgery, unlike traditional types

of breast prosthetics. Knitted Knockers come in all

sizes and colors. The soft prosthetics can be worn

in regular bras and swimwear. They are made

from durable, washable, nonwool sport or baby-

weight yarn. Once a knocker is knitted, it’s stuffed

with polyester fiber fill, or Poly-Fil.

It’s now Jacqui’s mission to bring this world-

wide project to every woman in Kern County who

needs it. She even joined a local knitting group,

What the Knit, to recruit other skilled knitters to

support the project.



RN, often

spends her

lunch hour


for Knitted