Little Hats Big Hearts American Heart Assocaition
A congenital heart defect is a condition present at birth and affects nearly 40,000 babies every year in the United States. Data from studies show the rate of children born with a minor heart problem is increasing, and about one in four infants born with a heart defect is born with a critical one.
To bring awareness to congenital heart defects, volunteers from around the country are joining the American Heart Association, in connection with The Children’s Heart Foundation, to celebrate American Heart Month by knitting and crocheting red hats for babies born in February and donating them to participating hospitals. Little Hats, Big HeartsTM, honors babies, moms, and heart healthy lives in a very special way. Supporters are knitting and crocheting red hats to be given out to thousands of babies during American Heart Month in order to empower moms to live heart healthy lives and to help their children do the same.
The idea for Little Hats, Big Hearts came from Anne Schullo, a community engagement coordinator at the AHA’s Midwest Affiliate, in February 2014 in Chicago, IL collecting 300 hats in the first year. Since then, the program has distributed more than 90,000 hats to families in hospitals around 42 states. The hats are collected year-round and distributed throughout the year to babies with and without heart defects. Together, they are working to raise awareness, provide resources, and inspire moms to take their family’s heart health to heart while also raising awareness about Congenital Heart Defects.
Susie Gibbs, a former emergency room nurse, has seen first-hand the hardship and heartache parents go through when their child is born with a heart defect. This winter, the 66-year-old from Humeston, Iowa, plans to donate more than 200 hats to the project. During the past couple years, she has crocheted more than 250 hats. Gibbs’ husband, Butch, had both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest within a year’s time. “He’s one of the lucky ones,” she said.
“Making something to support a cause feels better than giving money or attending a fundraiser”, Gibbs said, because “you have something to show for what you’re doing.”
This will be the third year Iowa has participated in the program. In 2015-2016, only three hospitals in Des Moines participated, and we donated 800 hats. In 2016-201717, 29 hospitals participated across the state, and we donated 2,300 hats. This year, 45 hospitals are participating across the state, and we will donate over 2,800 hats! If you knit or crochet and would like to participate in Little Hats, Big Hearts, you send them to our office in Hiawatha: 1035 N. Center Point Road, Hiawatha, IA 52233.
If you are not able to knit or crochet and would still like to make a contribution they will also accepts donations of yarn or of course financial donation. The yarn preferred is cotton or acrylic red, medium to heavy weight yarn that is machine washable and dryable. Please stick to basic patterns and no bows or buttons. Thought they are cute they can come off easily and be dangerous for a little one.