Little hats convey big, heartfelt message
For the second year, baby's hats were collected at UHS Stay Healthy at the Oakdale Mall to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke. Members of the community donated 403 hats, up from 120 last year. The red knitted and crocheted hats will be given to babies born at UHS Wilson during February, observed as American Heart Month.
"We are raising awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, as well as congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the world," said Megan Farmer, RN, coordinator of the Stay Healthy Kids program at UHS Stay Healthy.
The effort is part of "Little Hats, Big Hearts," an American Heart Association nationwide program launched in Chicago in February 2014. It started with 300 hats colelcted in Illinois and has since spread to many other states.
From left, Megan Farmer, Katelyn Horn and Abigail Paccone
During the Stay Healthy effort, two Girl Scouts from Troop 30028, Abigail Paccone and Katelyn Horn, were among those who knitted hats to donate, and wrote to Stay Healthy and UHS News about why they took on the project:
"At our level of Girl Scouts, we have something called a Silver Award, which is the second-highest award we can earn. In our Silver Award, we must make a positive impact on our community. Our award was started in seventh grade, in 2015. We went through multiple project ideas, but we didn't start our current project with 'Little Hats, Big Hearts' until December 2016.
"We have decided to help spread awareness by knitting baby and preemie hats, and by teaching as many people as we can about heart disease and congenital heart defects. This includes our Girl Scout troop and the people at the Girl Scout Banquet, which is the celebration after girls complete a project. We plan to make more hats for next year's collection, and we hope that this program will keep running and continue to raise awareness for heart disease and congenital heart defects."