As part of their ongoing efforts for National Heart Month, the American Heart Association, in conjunction with the San Angelo Community Medical Center and CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System, work together to raise awareness about congenital heart defects and heart disease through the Little Hats, Big Hearts Program, which provides handmade red hats to newborns.

Knitting Hats for Little Hearts, the organization’s volunteer group, spent hours sewing and making the little red hats to present to newborns at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital.

“Heart disease is usually known to affect adults, but according to US News and World Report approximately 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease annually,” said Rebecca Barr, Clinical Director of NICU and Newborn Nursery at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth disorders in the United States, affecting nearly 1-percent of the annual births in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The red hats are a special gift for families,” said Barr. “But they are also a great way to spark conversation regarding heart disease among patients of all ages.”

Volunteers across Texas knit little red hats to send to hospitals across Texas and around the country to be given to newborns to help spread awareness about congenital heart disease throughout the month of February. The efforts of these volunteers put warm smiles on the faces of parents.

In 2014, the American Heart Association began Little Hats, Big Hearts in Chicago to increase awareness of heart defects in newborns. Now, the program has expanded its mission to 39 states. This is the second year CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital Health System has participated in Little Hats, Big Hearts.