NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Volunteers for the American Heart Association are celebrating Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (Feb. 7-14) by knitting and crocheting 1,400 tiny red hats for 11 local hospitals.
Newborns at CHKD and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital received the hats Tuesday morning and parents got free health information courtesy of 2019 Heart and Stroke Ball sponsor W.M. Jordan Company.
On board to help receive the donations at CHKD was 2-year old survivor Laney Lyon.
“She was born with 4 congenital heart defects that went completely undetected from the time she was born until she was 7 days old,” explained Laney Lyon.
A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart that’s present at birth.
Stephanie says the major one was her aorta valve had a pinch in it, and closed, stopping blood from getting to a majority of her body.
“At two weeks old, she had a 10-hour open heart surgery that ultimately ended with her having to be monitored for the rest of her life,” said her mom, Stephanie Lyon.
Laney and her mom accepted these donated red hats, made by volunteers at the American Heart Association through their “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program all to shed light on the congential heart disease to keep new moms informed.
“We need to spread the awareness because 1 in 100 babies are born with congential heart defect, it’s the most common, it’s also the most deadly,” said Jennifer Stout, the executive director of the American Heart Association.
“Any efforts to increase awareness for early detection to maybe help the moms ask those right questions, or even bring it up, like ‘hey I had a friend whose baby,’ or if it makes an ultrasound tech look a little closer,” Stephanie said.
Laney Lyon is the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Ball survivor this year.
If you want to hear Laney’s entire story, you can still buy tickets to the event being held at The Main in Norfolk on March 23 from 6:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. at hrheartandstrokeball.heart.org and meet WAVY’s Tom Schaad and Anita Blanton.