By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Lea en español

Little red hats seem to be everywhere on social media. The pictures show them on newborns, pets and dolls, and stacked on tables in people’s homes. Some are plain; others have elaborate designs.

Dawn Lang Zupsic of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, is among the hundreds of crocheters and knitters who have posted photographs of their cozy creations on Facebook and Instagram. They are making the tiny head coverings to support Little Hats, Big Hearts, a campaign started by the American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation to raise awareness about the estimated 40,000 U.S. babies born each year with heart defects.

Since it started in 2014, the campaign has distributed more than 100,000 hats to families of newborns at hospitals in more than 40 U.S. states. Some of the hats have come from as far away as Germany and Australia.

Lang Zupsic, 49, said she first read about the campaign on her Facebook feed. She said making the hats was a no-brainer for her because she loves to crochet, a skill she learned from her mother and grandmother when she was 10 years old. It usually takes her about 20 minutes to make one hat. A colleague at the equipment company near Pittsburgh where she works as a parts administrator donated the yarn.

Dawn Lang Zupsic is making more than two dozen hats to support Little Hats, Big Hearts.

Dawn Lang Zupsic is making more than two dozen hats to support Little Hats, Big Hearts. (Photo courtesy of Dawn Lang Zupsic)

“They’re fairly simple to make,” she said. “I bring the yarn to work, I make them on my lunch hour, and [also] whatever time I can spare in the evenings.”

Lang Zupsic said she is well on her way to achieving her goal of making at least 36 hats by the end of the year.

Beyond the satisfaction she feels contributing to a good cause, Lang Zupsic said working on the hats brings back fond childhood memories of crocheting with her grandmother while listening to her stories about her own girlhood.

Lang Zupsic doesn’t know anyone with children who were born with heart problems. But she is aware that heart disease is common among adults. And she’s a firm believer in exercising and eating right. “[You] need to take care of your heart, and you need to take care of your body,” she said.

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org