AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
The tiny heart of a newborn is no bigger than a strawberry, which is why early diagnosis of congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the United States, is so important.
This February, in celebration of American Heart Month, thousands of newborns across the Lehigh Valley will play a big role in raising awareness about congenital heart defects and heart health as part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign. The campaign is led by the American Heart Association in cooperation with The Children’s Heart Foundation.
Red baby caps were collected from local volunteers who knitted or crocheted the caps, based on some patterns and guidelines provided by the American Heart Association. Volunteer participation in the program skyrocketed this year thanks to some national media stories. More than 1,500 hats were collected this year, up from just over 600 last year. As a result, the American Heart Association was able to recruit more hospitals across the region to participate in the program. Participating hospitals include: Easton Hospital, St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network.
This is the third year for the Little Hats, Big Hearts program in the Lehigh Valley. The program started in February 2014 in Chicago, collecting 300 hats in the first year. The program has now expanded to local projects in 46 states.
In addition to using red hats to raise awareness of heart disease and congenital heart defects, Little Hat, Big Hearts also drives awareness for the American Heart Association’s Support Network, an online forum for families affected by heart disease and stroke.
For more information about the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.