For children with CHD, open-heart surgery is something they will have to endure, and for many CHD Warriors, like Matthew, more than one-time. The Hatchers knew first-hand what this experience is like for these children and their families and wanted to help. Our “Hug a Heart” Pillow Project came about after Matthew’s 3rd open heart surgery. Matthew’s Nurse Svetlana was asked, “how can we help, Pediatric Cardiac ICU is a very stressful place”. She said “Get me some Heart Pillows” and after some prototypes were put together and send down for approval, the project was born.
The shape of our pillows are not only symbolic; these pillows serve an extremely important purpose. After an open heart surgery, it is very difficult to cough and as you can imagine, it if even more difficult for a very young patient. The “Hug a Heart” pillows not only help comfort CHD warriors when they are in the hospital, they also help give the children something to hug and hold onto, to get some relief when coughing or some much needed rest. Our goal for our “Hug a Heart” Pillows is to help take away some of the pain following surgery and the uneasiness of being in a hospital and to let these brave fighters know people are thinking and praying for their recovery.
The “Hug a Heart” Pillow Project is a true labor of love and could not be accomplished without the many hands and hearts that help with the entire process. We are extremely fortunate to work with our area Prek-8 school - the Sherman School, local Girl Scout troops and sewing groups to cut, pre-sew, stuff, disinfect and bag our pillows. We are also indebted to the generosity of many people who have donated to this project, especially to Fairfield Processing for donating their Poly-Fil, Clothinglabels4u for donating the tags and Joann Fabric and Craft Stores for their 50% discount on the soft flannel fabric.
Over the past three years, we have delivered over 750 “Hug a Heart” Pillows to Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York and plan on branching out to Yale New Haven Hospital as well as Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
In 2014, Academy of Our Lady in Glen Rock, NJ held a “Hug a Heart” Pillow Project and our story caught the attention Heart Heros out of Omaha Nebraska and thanks to the generous sponsorship by Fairfield, CT based JunkLuggers, ‘Heart Hero Capes’ will now accompany our “Hug a Heart” Pillows.
Our “Hug A Heart” Pillows are stuffed with Poly-Fil, love and a little hope one child to another.
If you would like to get involved, know of a group or school that would like to organize a “Hug a Heart” Pillow Project, please contact us for more information.
Raising Hope, One and a Half Hearts at a Time.
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