The Children’s Heart Foundation Joins Forces with the American Heart Association Little Hats, Big Hearts Efforts on the Central Coast

November 29, 2017

Courtesy photo.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation launches Little Hats, Big Hearts on the Central Coast. The program that dons newborns with knitted red caps 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. Sponsored locally by Dignity Health Central Coast, Little Hats, Big Hearts empowers moms to live heart healthy lives and to help their children do the same. All babies born at participating Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals during the month of February will receive a hat.

“We’re delighted to be a part of this program that helps raise awareness about congenital heart defects,” said Alan Iftiniuk, President and CEO, French Hospital Medical Center. “Our staff and volunteers have always been huge supporters of the American Heart Association and now they have yet another unique opportunity to get involved by helping knit or crochet these adorable little hats for newborns in our hospital.”

The American Heart Association is asking for volunteers to knit or crochet the little red hats. For information, including yarn specifics and sample patterns, visit or contact Becky Mendoza at 805-979-5286.

The deadline to receive hats is January 15, 2018. Hats may be sent or delivered to the American Heart Association Central Coast Office at ATTN: Becky Mendoza, American Heart Association, 212 West Figueroa Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101. 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,” says William Foley, Executive Director of The Children’s Heart Foundation. “We’re proud to be part of this program as it brings together the community to rally around those families affected by CHD. We also would like to thank all the incredible volunteers that share their time and talent to make this program possible.”

Little Hats, Big hearts began in Chicago in 2014. The project has grown to include 660 hospitals in 40 states handing out more than 100,000 hats. In addition to using red hats to raise awareness of heart disease and congenital heart defects, Little Hat, Big Hearts also drives awareness for the American Heart Association’s Support Network, an online forum for families affected by heart disease and stroke. Follow Little Hats, Big Hearts on the Central Coast with #LittleHatsCC.

About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association: The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Dignity Health Central Coast: Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. Hospitals in the Dignity Health Central Coast region include Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, and St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to provide additional funding to support new programs and services, as well as to advance the community’s access to health care.  For more information, visit

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