NORFOLK, Va. — For parents of most newborns, the job includes dirty diapers and a lot of sleepless nights. But for some parents there’s a dangerous health problem with their babies that's not on the radar.
It's called congenital heart disease.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters saved 2-year-old Laney Lyon’s life when she was diagnosed with the disease at seven days old.
Stephanie Lyon said when an ambulance rushed her newborn to surgery, "It was the scariest experience of our lives.”
"There were no warning signs at first,” said Lyon. “Honestly if she hadn’t been my third child, I don’t know if I would’ve recognized that anything was wrong at first.”
American Heart Association research shows Lyon is not alone. In fact, one in every 100 babies is born with a heart defect.
So, statistics and stories like hers are why a group of volunteers is raising awareness for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.
All day, they are delivering 1,400 red baby hats to 11 hospitals in Hampton Roads. Each hat comes with a paper full of information about heart disease awareness, research and prevention.
The executive director for the American Heart Association, Jennifer Stout said, "Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect and it is also the deadliest."
She explained the goal of giving each hat is to “also teach the parents that the children need to be healthy as they grow up. So, they don’t get heart disease or stroke.”
Volunteers across the country crocheted these gifts of love all year long. They now serve as a form of warmth and a reminder to pay attention to the hearts of babies.