American Heart Association’s nationwide Little Hats, Big Hearts project returning to Southern New England

Through January 15th, American Heart Association is accepting red hats for Southern New England newborns born in February 2016.

PROVIDENCE, RI ― The American Heart Association is seeking handmade red hats, crocheted or knitted, to provide to Southern New England newborns born during American Heart Month (February 2016), as a part of the national Little Hats, Big Hearts project! Last May in celebration of Mother’s Day, more than 1,000 hats were distributed to hospitals in Southern New England!

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With Little Hats, Big Hearts, the American Heart Association and Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island are raising awareness about cardiovascular diseases, the No. 1 killer in the United States, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country, occurring in one of 100 babies. Thirty-four states nationwide are currently participating in Little Hats, Big Hearts!

Hats will be given to each baby born in February at participating hospitals across the region. Hospitals that have already confirmed their participation in this program include Charlton Memorial Hospital, Kent Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, South County Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Tobey Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital. Additional participating hospitals may be announced throughout the month.

New parents will be asked to share a picture of their child in the red hat on social media to help spread awareness regarding congenital heart defects using the hashtag: #LittleHatsBigHearts.

For Kelli Carlson, heart mom and Co-Founder/Group Coordinator of Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island, volunteering with the American Heart Association is about building awareness for congenital heart defects and raising funds to support cutting-edge research that has and continues to improve the lives of young heart survivors like her son, Will.

“In the 10 years since Will’s birth, the treatment options for his birth defect have improved immensely.  What would have required open heart surgery less than a decade earlier, is now able to be done less invasively in the Cath lab,” Kelli explains. “To see the landscape of treatment options change so drastically in such a short amount of time, due in large part to the research dollars and awareness provided by the American Heart Association, is enough of a reason for us to come together for this cause.”

The American Heart Association is working with both the mother-baby units and neonatal intensive care units in hospitals so donations of red hats in both premature and newborn sizes are needed. Because bows and buttons may be a danger to newborn babies, only red hats without decorations can be accepted for Little Hats, Big Hearts.

The American Heart Association is also accepting donations of red yarn to help those who will be knitting or crocheting hats. Yarn must be cotton or acrylic, medium to heavy weight and machine washable and dryable.

Drop off locations around the region include: Love to Knit in East Greenwich, Yarn Outlet in Pawtucket and Two Dots – More than a Yarn Shop in Wakefield.

All mailed-in donations must be received at the American Heart Association’s Providence office (One State Street, Suite 200, Providence, RI 02908) by January 15 and in-person donations can be made during regular business hours. Donations will be accepted from outside Southern New England.  More than 830 hats have been donated to date!

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For more information on drop off locations and for sizing or patterns visit: www.heart.org/littlehatsbigheartsSNE or contact Andrea Larocque at Andrea.Laroque@heart.org or 401-228-2332.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.

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