Breast Cancer Researcher Connects Art and Science in ‘Knit One, Cure One’ Group

March 22, 2013

Jeanne Mandelblatt, MD, MPH, is passionate about finding a cure for cancer. She’s also passionate about knitting.

“I knit through all of my meetings,” she confesses, “I like balancing scientific creativity with artistic pursuits. I love color and texture.”

Besides her leadership roles at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she is professor of oncology and medicine and associate director of population sciences, Mandelblatt also serves as the enthusiastic team captain of the Georgetown Lombardi/ Capital Breast Care Center team for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The goal of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is generate funds to enable more breast cancer research as well as to help low-income and uninsured women get the care they desperately need.

Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC) is a community-based arm of Georgetown Lombardi in southeast DC that offers breast health services to underserved women, regardless of their ability to pay. The Avon Foundation has been one of CBCC’s biggest supporters since it provided an initial grant of $1 million for the establishment of the center in 2004 and they have supported CBCC since then with over $8 million over the years to keep the doors open.

Says Mandelblatt, who founded CBCC, “I walk every year for two very important reasons: first, to let Avon know how much their support means to us, and second, and most importantly, so that our patients know that they are not alone; we are walking with them every step of the way.”

The Georgetown team is among the largest each year in the annual two-day, 39-mile Avon walk. In 2012 the team brought in more than $86,000—and this year the 63 men and women on the team plan to raise over $110,000.

That’s where the knitting comes in. Five years ago, Mandelblatt founded Knit One, Cure One, a group that brings together knitting enthusiasts as well as those who want to take action to fight breast cancer. The members of the group sell their beautifully knit items at events throughout the year, with 100% of proceeds donated to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and applied toward the team’s fundraising goal.

Each year, Knit One, Cure One raises between $3,000 and $7,000 by selling handcrafted items at local holiday craft fairs in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, says Mandelblatt, who donates the yarn.

Knit One, Cure One consists of about five steady knitters who are based throughout the United States. Some of the members have never met, but Mandelblatt attributes their desire to be a part of the group to their common dedication to the cause of fighting breast cancer.

To get involved with Knit One, Cure One, volunteers are welcome to join in knitting and will be provided with yarn and patterns if needed. Mandelblatt says volunteers are always needed to sew or create jewelry, and donations of supplies such as yarn, fabric, beads and buttons are always welcome.

To purchase, volunteer or share ideas, please email Jeanne Mandelblatt at Visit the Georgetown Lombardi / CBCC Team blog at:


By Sarah Kana, Georgetown Lombardi Communications