Each year, 40,000 babies in the United States are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). That’s over 100 per day and more than four per hour. To raise awareness for these little survivors, dozens of knitters joined the American Heart Association (AHA) and Massey Services on Dec. 7 at Florida Hospital to stage a “knit-in.”
The knit-in kicked off the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, which is the AHA’s campaign to raise awareness for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.
“This is the most common form of congenital defect, and it has become more treatable over the past 20 years,” says Dr. Frank Pigula, director of congenital cardiac surgery at Florida Hospital for Children. “It’s important to raise awareness and educate people on the tremendous progress we’ve made, and that’s why we support the American Heart Association.”
The AHA’s goal is to collect more than 3,000 knitted and crocheted red hats, allowing every baby born in Central Florida during American Heart Month (February) to take one home. The program is sponsored locally by Massey Services.
“We are honored to partner with the American Heart Association to bring awareness to such an important initiative that will benefit our community,” says Andrea Massey-Farrell, senior vice president of community relations for Massey Services. “We are grateful to so many of our community members who donated their time and energy to ensure that Little Hats, Big Hearts is a successful campaign.”
Dedicated volunteers from across Central Florida came together at Florida Hospital’s Creation Park Lawn to knit and crochet red hats for the community’s littlest survivors. The event also featured live music and remarks from leaders of supporting organizations.
The “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program will collect red baby caps through January. Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
- American Heart Association of Greater Orlando Office
- Massey Services Orlando Headquarters
- Florida Hospital campuses throughout Central Florida