Calling all knitters! Red hats needed for KC babies

Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-26 11:05:57-05

The American Heart Association wants every baby born in February to wear a little red hat while they're at the hospital.

They need people to knit or crochet hats for the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign. The goal is 2,000 hats in newborn or preemie sizes.

The hats raise awareness for heart disease during Heart Month, and teach families how to live heart-healthy lives.

Knitting is an unexpected passion for Erin Gabert, who is the senior community health director at Kansas City's office.

"If I can do it, anybody can do it!" she said.

She just started last Thursday.

"Now I'm knitter extraordinaire."

It's a cause near to Gabert's heart. She, like many others, is putting her hands to work for the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign.

"It's fun. It's just one more thing people can do to get involved," Gabert said.  She was working on her second hat when we interviewed her.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and the most common birth defect.

"My father died when he was 58 of cardiac arrhythmia. My aunt died a few years later from a heart attack.  I've had many cousins who've had strokes unfortunately just recently in the past couple of years, so it hits home," Gabert said.

She's knitting loss into love.

Groups will send in their knitted hats to the AHA, where they're washed and dried. The hats have to be soft for the little newborn and preemie heads.

Nine hospitals in the KC metro are participating, including Shawnee Mission Health

Knitters can view different patterns for hats on the AHA website

"When you see people that come through the hospital and they see the babies with all the little red hats, we have an opportunity to educate the public," Vickie Franck said.

Franck is the director of the hospital's heart and vascular center.

"It's important for moms to be aware how cardiovascular disease can affect them and their families," Franck said.

Gabert agrees.

"Heart disease is such an overall term that it doesn't always resonate with people," she said.

But when it comes to your family's health, you can't do enough to get the message out.

Even if it's starting out with a hat on a baby's head.

All hats need to be turned in to the American Heart Association by January 17.



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