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Ozarks Medical Center Newborns Sporting Red Hats for a Good Cause

Ozarks Medical Center Newborns Sporting Red Hats for a Good Cause

American Heart Association teams up with Children’s Heart Foundation for Little Hats, Big Hearts Program during Heart Month

The American Heart Association (AHA) and The Children’s Heart Foundation today launched the fourth year of Southwest Missouri’s Little Hats, Big Hearts. The program that dons newborns with knitted red caps raises awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects (CHD), the most common type of birth defect in the country. All babies born at participating hospitals, including Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) during the month of February will receive a hat.

The program is raising awareness of survivors in our community like Reiss. During a routine ultrasound at 20 weeks, Reiss’ parents learned that their little girl would be born with a congenital heart defect. In her six short years, Reiss has undergone multiple medical procedures, including two open-heart surgeries and the placement of a pacemaker. While Reiss is thriving, her family knows that the fight is not over. She will need constant monitoring, additional testing, surgeries and procedures, and a regimen of medications for the rest of her life.

Reiss’ Mom, Sara, shares, “Before my pregnancy with Reiss, I had no idea about the prevalence of congenital heart defects, let alone the breadth of types and severities. This is why our family now advocates for awareness, funding and research as it pertains to congenital heart defects year-round. I urge newly pregnant mothers to know the statistics and not be afraid to ask heart specific questions during the 20 week ultrasound. Early detection is key.” The American Heart Association works to spread awareness and fund life-saving research on congenital heart defects.

The American Heart Association is asking for volunteers to knit or crochet red baby hats to distribute to participating hospitals. Participation is easy, go to heart.org/littlehatsbighearts to find knitting patterns, participating AHA offices and more. The AHA is also accepting donations to support the program, including yarn, for those who would like to contribute but don’t knit or crochet.

Little Hats, Big Hearts brings attention to congenital heart defects – a condition that affects about 40,000 babies born in the U.S. each year. “We’re proud to be part of this program for the first time, as it brings together the community to rally around those families affected by congenital heart defects,” said Lacey Carter, Executive Director of Nursing. “We also would like to thank Summit Utilities for their sponsorship, as well as all the incredible volunteers that share their time and talent to make this program possible.” In 2018, over 630 babies were delivered at OMC.

Little Hats, Big Hearts began in Chicago in 2014. The project has grown to include 980 hospitals in 41 states handing out more than 230,000 hats. In Southwest Missouri, this project has grown from 2 participating hospitals to 10. In addition to using red hats to raise awareness of heart disease and congenital heart defects, Little Hats, Big Hearts also drives awareness for the American Heart Association’s Support Network, an online forum for families affected by heart disease and stroke.

Contact Peggy Scott at peggy.scott@heart.org for more information and specific delivery dates/times.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About The Children’s Heart Foundation

Established by Betsy Peterson in 1996, The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) is the country’s leading national organization solely committed to congenital heart research funding. CHF is a national 501(c)(3) tax‐exempt charitable organization, whose mission is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects. Since 1996, CHF has funded millions of dollars of research across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, please visit childrensheartfoundation.org.

About Ozarks Medical Center

Ozarks Medical Center is a system of care encompassing eight primary care and 16 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare and home care services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire medical system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about OMC, visit www.OzarksMedicalCenter.com.

Pictured from left to right: Melody Hubbell, OMC Marketing and Public Relations Director; Phil Marcum, Senior Manager, Business Development, Summit Utilities; Jessica “J.J.” Corman, Med Surg /House Supervisor Nurse Director; Josh Reeves, Executive Director of Operations; Lacey Carter, Executive Director of Nursing; Kim Thompson, Vice President and CFO; Pam Ream, Vice President of OMC Medical Group; Peggy Scott, Communications Coordinator, American Heart Association.

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