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Volunteers needed to knit or crochet red hats for newborns as part of “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program

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MILWAUKEE -- Thousands of newborn babies across Wisconsin will soon be wearing red hats to send an important message.

Little Hats, Big Hearts program

Little Hats, Big Hearts program

The American Heart Association needs your help kicking off the Little Hats, Big Hearts program. American Heart Association officials are looking for folks to knit or crochet red hats.

The hats will be distributed to babies born in Aurora Health Care birthing centers throughout Wisconsin during February, American Heart Month. Hats will be collected from now through January 15th.

"We're trying to raise awareness that 80% of heart disease is preventable," said Laura Bolger, corporate events director and coordinator of the program for the American Heart Association.

The Little Hats, Big Hearts program raises awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

"Most congenial heart defects can be treated right away," said Bolger.

The program is in Wisconsin for the first time thanks to an Aurora nurse in West Allis.

"We here, alone, do more than 400 babies a month, and that really gives us an opportunity in the month of February to place hats and spark conversation about congenital heart disease," said Dawn Terpstra, Aurora West Allis Medical Center R.N.

Little Hats, Big Hearts program

Little Hats, Big Hearts program

Hats are needed in both newborn and preemie sizes and should be made of yarn that is red, cotton or acrylic, medium to heavy weight, and machine washable and dry-able. Donations of yarn are also accepted.

Naomi Haig is with the group Knotty Knitters. She makes hats and scarves for Aurora cancer patients. Now she's knitting red hats.

"Our low estimate is 300, but I think we might get closer to 400," said Haig.

She's hoping others will follow suit.

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