Red Hats Raise Awareness for Congenital Heart Defects

As red hats are passed out across DFW, a Dallas nurse inspires families of children born with heart defects.

(Published Friday, Feb. 9, 2018)

Thousands of little red hats have gone to hospitals in North Texas given to babies born in February.

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is this week and the American Heart Association is distributing thousands of the little red hats to participating hospitals.

At the end of July, a wedding at the Don CeSar brought Justin Johnson and Renal Roberts to St. Pete Beach, and while they were relaxing after a game of beach volleyball, they noticed a woman struggling to push a wheelchair on the sand.

They immediately offered to help the girl, who had cerebral palsy, and carried her to a blanket near the water so should could fully enjoy the beach day.

"They were shocked. They were very surprised," said Justin Johnson, one of the men who helped carry the girl.

Unfortunately, the group of friends never learned the names of the girl or her mother.

Now, they're searching for the family to help them get a better wheelchair for future beach trips.

(Published Monday, Aug. 6, 2018)

The hats are given to newborns throughout the month of February to raise awareness of congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

Erin Hunter, a registered nurse in the Heart Center at Children's Health, had her first open-heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect when she was just nine months old.

She had six more surgeries by the time she was 11.

"I remember stories my parents would tell me when I was younger about them never wanting to leave my bedside, to get even a little night's sleep, because they wanted to be completely involved in the care," Hunter said.

Tom Blumenthal has picked up trash from one river in Boulder, Colorado for over 20 years. One day, he decided the flip flops he found deserved a second life. He used them to create art over the river.

(Published Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018)

Now, as a registered nurse, she cares for children like Jaxtyn Davis, born with heart defects.

"He's not going to remember a bit of it, but we will," said Jaxtyn's mother, Brandy Davis.

This year Dallas-Fort Worth residents knitted more than 5,500 little red hats to be given to newborns.