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‘Little Hats, Big Hearts’ campaign raises awareness

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Radley, a  healthy “Valentine baby” born Tuesday night at Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell, shows off his new hat, knitted for him by American Heart Association volunteers, for the Little Hats, Big Hearts awareness campaign. AHA volunteer Sarah Bradley says the group shares the newborn hats, as well as information about heart disease and defects, as part of February’s Heart Month efforts. Radley is the son of Katie Drake and Brett Hill of Artesia. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)
Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell expects to give red hats to 80 to 90 babies born in February, says Alyce Holmes, left, director of the labor and delivery unit. People are also encouraged to wear red this month as part of American Heart Month, says Sarah Bradley, center, American Heart Association volunteer. Lovelace staff on the labor and delivery ward Wednesday are, from left, Lizeth Jimenez, registered nurse; Nicole Neeld, registered nurse; and Denise Licon, surgical technician. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Radley is a special baby indeed.

Born Tuesday night at Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell to Katie Drake and Brett Hill of Artesia, he is a healthy and loved Valentine baby, and, given that he arrived on the Lovelace ward this month, he received a red knit hat from volunteers of the American Heart Association (AHA), which co-sponsors the Little Hats, Big Hearts awareness campaign along with the Children’s Heart Foundation.

“Heart issues are the No. 1 issue for women,” said Sarah Bradley, a local Heart Association volunteer and a heart transplant survivor herself, having been diagnosed with a problem four years ago as a result of pregnancy. “But women aren’t the only ones who deal with these issues, so do men and babies.”

Drake’s first child, Braxton, born in January 2018, passed 10 days after birth due to heart defects.

“A lot of people think heart disease only affects older people,” Drake said. “They often don’t think about the fact that it can affect babies and young people as well.”

February is American Heart Month, so Bradley and other Heart Association volunteers are doing what they can to provide information about heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, and congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect worldwide, according to the AHA. Cards provided to families along with the hats during the month of February also include information on the AHA Support Network and the Congenital Heart Defect Research program. 

Lovelace Regional Hospital participates in the event annually, said Alyce Holmes, director of the labor and delivery unit, giving away somewhere around 80 to 90 hats each February.