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Indiana AHA delivers warm surprise to NICU patients

Indiana AHA delivers warm surprise to NICU patients

While a numbing polar vortex raged outside, the little ones inside Franciscan Health Indianapolis’ post-delivery and neonatal intensive care units were made just a bit warmer with a special delivery from the Indiana chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA).

The team recently delivered 200 hand-knitted caps as part of their annual “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program, which raises awareness about heart disease – the most common type of birth defect among newborns in the United States. It was their first stop in a campaign to deliver 3,000 caps to infants at more than 30 hospitals.

NICU Manager Paula Stanfill and her cadre are eager to join in the deliveries.

Slumbering Caiya Jane didn’t pay her new bright red cap much mind. However, her mother, Shelli Wolf, appreciated the headgear presented by AHA Board member Jim England.

Caiya Jane sleeps peacefully after being fitted for her red cap. (Submitted photo)

“It’s a thoughtful thing to do and will be a good keepsake for my daughter,” said Wolf, an Indianapolis resident.

In a nearby NICU double suite, it was chow time and twin brothers were howling with hunger. Their mother, Katie Burpo, cradled Paul while RN Whitney Cooper held Jack. The women deftly adjusted the caps on the little heads and swiftly prepared the boys for lunch.

Franciscan Health Indianapolis and the Indiana AHA have been partners in the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign for several years.

Living healthy and free of disease makes a critical difference in quality of life. In Indianapolis, life expectancy is as high as 83.5 years in some neighborhoods and as low as 69 years in others just miles away. That’s why we are working to raise awareness about the vital effect lifestyle has on health, especially poor nutrition and inactivity, and to help children form healthy habits that will last a lifetime by removing obstacles to making healthy choices. For more information, please visit heart.org/en/affiliates/indiana/Indianapolis.

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