Partnering With American Heart Association To Raise Awareness For Congenital Heart Defects And Support Parents With Ailing Infants
Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common type of birth defect in the country, and every year thousands of babies are born with this life-threatening condition. To help raise awareness for CHD during February’s American Heart Month and support affected families with newborns at local hospitals, Coachman Square at Woodbridge, a Benchmark assisted living community in Woodbridge, Conn., is hoping to knit 100 red hats for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign.
As an extension of its mission to elevate human connection and provide support for people of all ages in the towns and neighborhoods they serve, on January 29, Coachman Square residents, associates and volunteers gathered to knit tiny red hats. The hats will warm the heads of newborns at New Haven area hospitals. Twenty-seven hospitals in Connecticut participate in the campaign, including Bridgeport and Yale-New Haven Hospitals.
“We want parents to know they aren’t alone in this fight,” says Sarah Malaspina, executive director of Coachman Square. “It’s a small gesture to show we’re thinking about them, and we hope that will give them strength.”
Many of Benchmark’s 58 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities located throughout the Northeast are participating in the campaign in hopes of donating more than 1,000 hats to the cause.
AHA is committed to raising awareness for CHD and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to that of the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, laws were passed in Connecticut to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. The AHA also trains parents, caregivers and medical professionals in infant and child CPR for which it has created guidelines.
“Heart-related conditions impact so many of our beloved residents, so it’s important to us to support the good work of organizations like the American Heart Association,” says Tom Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark. “Whether it’s our continued sponsorship of the annual Heart Ball or participating in campaigns like Little Hats, Big Hearts, we are delighted to support such an important cause affecting so many.”