WHAT: The Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association and Catholic Health, with support from The Children’s Heart Foundation (TCHF), area teaming up for Little Hats, Big Hearts, a national program to raise awareness about family heart health and congenital heart defects, which affect 1 in 100 babies. During Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week, February 7-14, the two groups will host an interview with Fetal Medicine Specialist Bruce Rogers, MD, who will discuss diagnosing congenital heart disease before birth along with Marc Natale, Executive Director of the American Heart Association. As part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, all babies born at Sisters of Charity, Mount St. Mary’s, and Mercy hospitals will be given a beautiful knitted or crocheted red hat during February, while their parents will receive important heart health information. The hundreds of hats, which were made by area volunteers, serve as a reminder that heart disease affects more Americans than any other condition, and congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect.

WHERE: Sisters of Charity Hospital Fetal Testing Center

WHEN: Thursday, February 14 – 11:00 a.m.

WHY: Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart at birth. They occur during heart development soon after conception. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as “holes” between chambers of the heart, to severe malformations, such as the complete absence of one or more chambers or valves. According to the American Heart Association, it’s possible to fix most congenital heart defects, with an estimated two million CHD survivors in the United States. Little Hats, Big Hearts began in Chicago in 2014 to raise awareness and improve care for babies born with congenital heart disease. Sponsored nationally by the AHA and TCHF, the program has grown to include more than 600 hospitals handing out more than 100,000 hats nationwide.

Following the interview, the media is invited to visit the hospital’s Mother-Baby Unit where the hats will be distributed to new moms and dads for their special Valentine’s Day “presents.”

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