Published : Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Babies born in the month of February at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena will be sporting little red caps, instead of the traditional pink or blue, as part of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program aimed at bringing attention to heart disease, considered the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.
The Huntington Hospital is one of 15 Los Angeles County hospitals participating in the program, now in its second year in Los Angeles. Each of the babies will receive a hat made by volunteers from across Southern California and as far as Lebanon.
“We are so thrilled by the response from the knitting community and our local hospitals that we expect to more than double the number of babies and families that we reached last year,” said Dr. Ravi Dave, a UCLA Health cardiologist and immediate past president of the American Heart Association Los Angeles County Board of Directors. “With this small gift, we hope to inspire parents to cherish their health and to commit to helping their children grow healthy and strong hearts.”
The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates there will be more than 4,000 newborn babies in February throughout Los Angeles County. Volunteer hat knitters have until the end of January to drop the hats off or send them to the AHA Los Angeles Division office, at 816 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles.
Other volunteers are needed to help package the little red hats for delivery on Friday, January 19, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the AHA Los Angeles office.
Leticia Aguilar, Region President of Union Bank for Los Angeles and Central Coast, said volunteers have provided amazing support by knitting almost twice the number of hats this year.
“We are so thankful for their participation and the ability to reach even more families with heart healthy messages,” Aguilar said. “This program is truly heart-warming. Who doesn’t love babies in little red hats? Although they are small, they send a powerful message that reminds us that heart health starts at birth. Wherever you are on your life’s path, it’s never too early or too late to think about your heart.”
The Little Hats, Big Hearts program began in Chicago in 2014. The project has grown to include 660 hospitals in 40 states, handing out more than 100,000 hats. Aside from Huntington Hospital, about two dozen other Los Angeles County area hospitals taking part in the program.
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 Little Hats, Big Hearts, including knitting patterns, participating cities and other ways to support, visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.
To participate as a volunteer, contact Taylor Tomczyszyn at Taylor.Tomczyszyn@heart.org or (213) 291-7092.