Tamara Lasley, a neonatal intensive care nurse (NICU) at HCA-affiliate Centerpoint Medical Center, is closing out American Heart Month with a big message in the form of tiny red hats.

She has combined her three passions – preemies, knitting and heart health – to lead more than 40 ER nurses and community members in knitting tiny red hats for NICU babies to wear this month. But these aren’t just any hats—they were created with very personal messages.

“This has been such a joy to produce and I can’t imagine the excitement once these tiny hats get placed on our babies,” says Lasley, who has knitted since she was eight years old. But most importantly, my hope is that these tiny hats send a big message to the mother, fathers and also the community: Pay attention to your heart.

Centerpoint Medical Center Cardiovascular Services Director Michelle Meyer, agrees and adds, “The statistics are staggering: One in three women will die of heart disease in America and it’s the leading cause of death in men.  Additionally, one in 100 babies are born with congenital heart defects annually.  So having a visual reminder of the importance of heart health helps us convey our message to take action now to prevent heart disease, and know the signs and symptoms.”

This initiative is a part of “Little Hats Big Hearts,” which started as a volunteer project in the American Heart Association’s Chicago field office in 2014 and has since grown to having a presence in 35 states, including Kansas City.  Three hospitals in the HCA Midwest region participated in this volunteer project: Centerpoint Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center and Research Medical Center.

“I thought it would be something nice for the babies—even those most vulnerable in our NICU—to welcome them into the world with bright red hats, and it was also for a good cause,” says Lasley, adding that she enjoys working on knitting hats all year and is so excited to have other departments join in.

Meet a Centerpoint Medical Center new mom and her twins in tiny red hats in this local news story here.

Centerpoint Medical Center nurse Tamara Lasley (pictured third from left) is shown with nurse colleagues and new mom Heather Brown and twins. 

Know your heart health. Take a simple, five minute online heart health risk assessment at HCA Midwest.

Centerpoint Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.  HCA Midwest Health, home to four Mother Baby and Neonatal ICU’s— including Centerpoint Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center— delivers more babies and cares for more preemies than any other health system in the Kansas City region.