During American Heart Month in February, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association teamed up with UMass Memorial Medical Center, Saint Vincent Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital for the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign. The nationwide campaign raises awareness about family heart health and congenital heart defects with the support of the Children’s Heart Foundation.
Volunteers across the city assisted the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, donating hundreds of handmade red hats to be delivered to newborns during American Heart Month. One such volunteer, Julie Holstrom, of Shrewsbury, donated her handmade hats in honor of her three-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, who was born with a congenital heart defect known as a ventricular septal defect.
Jacqueline has been seeing a pediatric cardiologist since the first few weeks of her life and all of her check-ups had been going well until last June, when Julie and her family learned that Jacqueline had developed another heart condition known as a double chambered right ventricle.
“Today, Jackie is doing wonderfully. She is an energetic, imaginative, outgoing and happy little girl that loves to play with her dolls, run around with her dog, play Hide n’ Seek with her family, and play on the beach at Cape Cod,” said Julie. “She is our thunder and lightning and she has shown us that nothing can keep her down – and we wouldn’t want it any other way.”
As part of the program, all babies born at participating hospitals during American Heart Month received a knitted or crocheted red baby hat. More than 1,000 hats were collected in the AHA’s Waltham office, and distributed to UMass Memorial Medical Center, Saint Vincent Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital last month.
This year’s program was locally sponsored by Benchmark Senior Living to support the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
“We are proud to be a part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program during Heart Month this year,” said Thomas Grape, Chairman and CEO at Benchmark Senior Living. “Through this program, we are working together as a community to raise awareness, provide resources, and empower moms to live heart healthy lives and to help their children do the same.”
The Little Hats, Big Hearts program started in Chicago in 2014 and has expanded to more than 40 states. Over 1,000 little red hats were distributed throughout the commonwealth. For more information about the Little Hats, Big hearts program, visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.[/fusion_text]