Raising awareness with little hats, big hearts


By Morgan McKinniss - mmckinniss@aimmediamidwest.com



GALLIA COUNTY — Little red hats will soon be on the heads of patients in Holzer’s Pediatric department.

Kaitlynn Halley is bringing the Little Hats, Big Hearts project to Gallia County this year; a program that raises awareness for Congestive Heart Disease, particularly in infants.

The Little Hats, Big Hearts project started initially by the American Heart Association (AHA) in other places by collecting red handmade toboggans and giving them to children in hospitals. Halley has now brought it to Gallia.

“It really interested me because I have CHD, a coartation of the aorta. I’ve always wanted to do something that made an awareness for CHD,” stated Halley. “One in 100 babies are affected. I really like to loom, and to knit, and I wanted to do something that I was interested in to help raise awareness.”

In her search to raise awareness locally, Halley found the AHA project and reached out to learn how it worked. If she chose to work directly with them, the hats donated would have ended up in Columbus hospitals.

“I decided I wanted to do something local so I contacted Holzer who was more than excited to be a part of the project,” said Halley.

The project works by individuals making knit or crochet hats and dropping them off at one of the collection points, which are then given to children in the Holzer pediatric department. Collection will go on until Jan. 29, as February is officially heart month.

“The hats are going specifically to children with CHD to raise awareness, and everyone loves making things for babies,” said Halley.

The project strictly collects hats, which should be a simple pattern without buttons or bows as they can become a hazard to the child. If someone wishes to support the cause but does not want to make a hat, yarn can be donated that Halley and others will use to make additional hats. According to Halley, she is welcoming anyone that is willing to make a hat.

“Our initial goal was 100 since it’s the first time doing it, but I’ve made 20 so far, so really we’re going to see how many we get this year to get started,” stated Halley.

Hats and yarn can be dropped off at the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau on Second Avenue or any Farmers Bank in the area. The AHA has patterns on their website for the hats, although the hats do not have to be made according to those styles.

“This project is close to my own heart and I hope that it spurs an awareness that heart defects affect a lot of people,” said Halley. “A lot of the earlier generation of those with CHD like myself are coming into adulthood. It’s a reminder that we’re making it, we’re surviving.”

Halley explained that being 24 years old now is special to her because she was never supposed to make it past 20 days. To learn more about the project, call Halley at the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 740-446-6882.

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By Morgan McKinniss

mmckinniss@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.