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Release Date: 02/25/2016
The American Heart Association collected more than 850 handmade red crocheted or knitted hats for Southern New England newborns born during American Heart Month (February 2016), as a part of the national Little Hats, Big Hearts project!

The American Heart Association and Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island are using Little Hats Big Hearts to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases, the no. one killer in the United States, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country, occurring in one of 100 babies. Thirty-four states nationwide are currently participating in Little Hats, Big Hearts. Last May, Little Hats, Big Hearts was launched in Rhode Island for the first time in celebration of Mother’s Day.

Hats will be given to each baby born this February at participating hospitals across the region including: Charlton Memorial Hospital, Kent Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, South County Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Tobey Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital. For Kelli Carlson, heart mom and Co-Founder/Group Coordinator of Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island, volunteering with the American Heart Association is about building awareness for congenital heart defects and raising funds to support cutting-edge research that has and continues to improve the lives of young heart survivors like her son, Will. Kelli delivered the hats to Memorial Hospital on February 5th – National Wear Red Day.

“In the 10 years since Will’s birth, the treatment options for his birth defect have improved immensely. What would have required open heart surgery less than a decade earlier, is now able to be done less invasively in the Cath lab,” Kelli explains. “To see the landscape of treatment options change so drastically in such a short amount of time, due in large part to the research dollars and awareness provided by the American Heart Association, is enough of a reason for us to come together for this cause.”

For more information visit: www.heart.org/littlehatsbigheartsSNE or contact Andrea Larocque at Andrea.Laroque@heart.org or 401-228-2332.

About Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island

Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, serves as the major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the chief site for the medical school's primary care academic program. Research focuses on primary care and disease prevention, including osteoarthritis, heart disease, cancer, pulmonary function, maternal and child health and women’s health issues.

Memorial provides health services for the people of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts including oncology, cardiovascular, orthopedics, rehabilitation, pain management, and diagnostics. Memorial offers primary care services in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Plainville, Massachusetts.

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