ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – February is American Heart Month and local hospitals are raising awareness in a very cute way.
Throughout the month of February, newborns at Albany Medical Center will be wearing little red hats knitted by volunteers and it’s all for a good cause.
Courtney Daddario knows first-hand what it’s like to have a child with a heart defect.
“Our story begins much like many others here today – with fear, apprehension, and a thousand thoughts and questions.”
During a routine checkup, while she was pregnant, the doctors noticed something unusual.
“What I didn’t expect was the news that came out of the doctor’s mouth after.”
Her son Connor, not even born into this world yet, had a congenital heart defect which would be with him for the rest of his life.
“Your son has a 50/50 chance of living.”
Now Connor is a happy and healthy 18-month-old.
“Awareness leads to preparedness, everybody wants a healthy baby.”
Doctor Suzie Mookherjee is a cardiologist at Albany Med and says heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women but it’s not just adults who are affected.
“You forget that our most vulnerable, our newborn babies, can also have heart defects.”
That’s why thousands of these little red hats are being given to newborns at hospitals across the Capital Region.
It’s all thanks to volunteer knitters like 10-year-old Riley Bakuzonis.
“I can make a hat in an hour.”
He saved his money from raking leaves and knitted more than 20 hats for the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, hoping his contribution will help the one in 100 babies who will be born with congenital heart defects.
“The heart defects, it hurts them.”
And give them memories to hold onto for years to come.
“When the baby is older the mom will be looking at the hat and say I can’t believe that you fit into this.”
Daddario says it’s programs like this one through the American Heart Association that can mean the most to a parent struggling with what to do next.
“I knew I needed somebody bigger to help me. I needed somebody who knew what they were going through to help us.”
If your newborn does receive one of these little red hats the American Heart Association would love if you shared a picture of them on social media.
For more on the Little Hats, Big Hearts program click here.