American Heart Month has Local, Personal Connection with City and Newborns

In honor of Heart Month, the American Heart Association (AHA) sponsors the Little Hats, Big Hearts Program. According to the AHA’s website, volunteers from around the country band together to showcase the significance of the month by knitting and crocheting red hats for babies born in February at participating hospitals. Little Hats, Big Hearts honors babies, mothers and heart healthy lifestyles. The hats are donated to babies nationwide in February in order to empower mothers to live heart healthy lives and to help their children do the same.

And this year, the program has a unique local tie to the City of Jesup and Wayne Memorial. City of Jesup employee Rosie Kinard saw a Facebook post about the program a few months ago. She thought to herself, “That’s nice. I can make a couple of hats and send them in.” The next morning at work, she mentioned the program to City Manager Mike Deal, who suggested she make one for each of the babies born during the month of February at Wayne Memorial. She said, “Challenge accepted.” A few phone calls later, Rosie committed to making 50, the average number of babies born at the hospital during the month of February. She shares her reasoning for upping her commitment from 2 hats to 50. “Heart disease touches every person in the United States in one way or another. My father, Hayward Norris, died from congestive heart failure, so these hats are in memory of him in the hopes that everyone makes their heart health a top priority.”

The American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program started in February 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. It collected 300 hats in the first year. The program is now in more than 40 states and collected over 200,000 this year. Wayne Memorial Hospital, whose mission is to provide high quality health care services to all patients, built a state-of-the-art facility in 2007. It is the third largest employer in Wayne County with 475 employees, 84 beds and is a two-time winner of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals Small Hospital of the Year Award.