River’s first hat was red. She received the knitted red hat last February, a special welcome into the world from the American Heart Association. The handmade hat held special meaning for River’s mom, Cristina Bruns, who has a family history of heart disease.
Volunteers from the American Heart Association knit and crochet red newborn hats for American Heart Month each February. These Little Hats, Big Hearts hats are a special gift to babies in participating hospitals across 35 states. Volunteers give the hats as a loving way raise awareness of congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect in the country, and heart disease.
Cristina joined knitters and crocheters from all 50 states and six countries when she decided to become a Little Hats, Big Hearts volunteer. She knits hats as a way to honor her baby brother, who passed away at six weeks old from a heart defect, and her cousin (now six years old) who had open heart surgery at six months old.
Little Hats, Big Hearts started in Chicago in 2013 when volunteers donated about 300 hats. In 2014, The American Heart Association received 15,000 hats from knitters across the globe. The program has grown exponentially, and now babies in hospitals in 35 states receive special red hats each February.
You can be a part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, even if you don’t kit or crochet when you send a Little Hats, Big Hearts Well Wish. This year, The American Heart Association is giving people the opportunity to make a financial donation and include a “Well Wish” that will accompany a hat distributed to a Chicago-area baby in February.
Our family received a hand crocheted hand for Sebastian in the hospital last year and the beautiful volunteer gift meant so much to us. I love the idea of sending a special “well wish” to a new family, along with a hat made just for their baby. What a meaningful way to offer love and support when people need it most.
Little Hats, Big Hearts is an awesome way to give back during the holiday season! All the funds raised will support the American Heart Association. They are the largest funders of pediatric heart research in the country, outside of the federal government. The American Heart Association also offers education and resources, along with a free support network, for families facing congenital heart disease.
The Little Hats, Big Hearts well wish site launches on Thursday, December 17. Consider sending a Little Hats, Big Hearts Well Wish for the holidays this year.