GOSHEN, Ind. – In honor of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign to raise awareness of congenital heart defects, handmade knitted or crocheted red hats are given to newborns born at hospitals across the country in February, which is American Heart Month. More than 30 Indiana hospitals participate in the program.
In Goshen, the volunteers knit hats for Goshen Hospital’s newborns year-round, but they put aside other colors to knit 100 red hats for the babies born in February.
The women like the hats they make to be given to babies born in their community. In addition to hats, they have made scarves for the Ukraine and The Window. They also make prayer shawls for people in their churches, baby blankets and gifts for their grandchildren. Each woman chooses what to make and whether to donate her work.
The group has been meeting for around 13 years at the community building of Greencroft Retirement Community, Goshen, on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m.
The Little Hats, Big Hearts program helps raise awareness about congenital heart defects by providing newborns with a red hat and information on heart disease to the parents. Congenital heart defects affect 1 of every 110 babies born.
“We appreciate the gift of these beautiful red hats. A portion of funds raised by American Heart Association supports research to treat babies with heart defects. The South Bend, Elkhart and Goshen areas collectively have given $6 million to help fund research at universities in Indiana,” said Diane Kemp, regional vice president with the American Heart Association.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and congenital heart defects are the leading birth defect in newborns.
Marilyn Wallace, knitter, with father Devin Puckett, mother Hailey Enos and baby Emerie Puckett. Marilyn knitted the hat the newborn is wearing and was excited to meet her. Grandmother Vicki Enos (not pictured) said the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign means something special to the family since she and the father’s grandfather both had open heart surgery in the past.
Some of the women who knit and crochet, meeting at Greencroft once a week. Front row (l to r): Marilyn Wallace, Laverne Nafziger and Marion Ketcham. Back row (l to r): Karla Beasley, Director of Volunteer Services at Goshen Health; Nancy Yoder; Judy Miller; Carolyn Lichti; Freeda Huser; Carol Hill; and Linda Corwin.