Little Hats Big Hearts program passes out hats to PICU babies

Volunteers passed out hand-knitted red hats to infants in the pediatric intensive care unit to raise awareness about heart health in connection with the American Heart Association Thursday.

The goal is to hand out more than 10,000 hats this year to hospitals in Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur and Springfield.

Illinois National Bank gathered volunteers to help knit them.

“Heart health is important to the community,” Peoria branch manager Pam Cain said. “We want to be a part of our community.”

The hats were a welcome sign of support to parents going through the unthinkable right now. Ethan and Jayme Hopkins welcomed Clara into the world on February 9, but she needed surgery to repair a congenital heart defect.

“At first you don’t know anything about this and then you go through the process and you realize there’s programs that are very supportive for families like that,” Ethan said. “One of them is this program that’s handing out the hats to raise awareness. We just appreciate everything they’re doing.”

Bobby Oler @bobbyoler

Bobby Oler @bobbyoler

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