Allentown News

Published on February 9th, 2018

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Why are February Newborns Sporting Special Red Hats at St. Luke’s?

The American Heart Association promotes wearing red in the month of February as part of “American Heart Month” to raise awareness about heart disease. But heart disease also impacts the lives of the smallest patients too, which is why, for the past three years, St. Luke’s University Hospital-Bethlehem and St. Luke’s Allentown Campus have participated in the American Heart Association “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program by giving out red knitted hats for newborns to wear in the nurseries.

The American Heart Association collects the red hats all year long from hundreds of volunteer knitters and distributes them in February to raise awareness about diseases that affect babies’ hearts. Congenital heart defects, which include major heart or blood vessel abnormalities that exist at birth, impact about 40,000 babies each year.

“The St. Luke’s maternal fetal medicine and maternal and newborn staff look forward to this donation every year,” says Jared King, Service Line Administrator, Women’s and Children’s Services. “Our team is continually screening for congenital heart defects prenatally and caring for babies, and families, affected by heart abnormalities.  The American Heart Association’s initiative touches home for our team and we are grateful for their efforts to help spread awareness about heart diseases.”

What started as a social media campaign has grown in size and awareness with over 100 volunteer knitters donating their creations to babies locally and nationwide. The AHA provides a pattern to follow and directions for different size hats ranging from very tiny for preemies to bigger hats for newborns. Some knitters even create their own patterns, adding a special touch to each hat.

“We’re so grateful to all of our knitters who make this program possible. We’ve had hundreds of emails inquiring about the program and we’ve received more donations this year than in the past,” says Dawn Fernandez, social events director for the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association. “St. Luke’s will receive 320 hats to help raise awareness about heart diseases that can affect preemies and newborns.”


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