How do you fight congenital heart disease with a crochet needle? 

Melissa Brazil of Corner Brook will tell you to get some red wool and do your part for newborn babies. 

She's one of countless people from across North America who have crocheted or knitted tiny, red woolen hats. The American Heart Association and the Children's Heart Foundation celebrate American Heart Month by inviting people to make hats for babies born in February at participating hospitals.

Baby beanies

Charities in Canada have picked up on the campaign, too. Brazil's sister recently saw a poster at the Corner Brook Public Library, asking people to donate handmade neonatal headwear to the provincial Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Brazil already had lots of practice, making hats for babies born at Western Memorial Regional Hospital.

baby beanies for Western Memorial Regional Hospital

Some of the 100 woolen beanies Melissa Brazil crocheted and donated to Western Memorial Regional Hospital. (Submitted photo)

"I just completed 100 (before Christmas)," she told the Corner Brook Morning Show.

A tug on the heartstrings inspired Brazil to pick up her needles and wool. Her nephew, who's eight years old now, was born prematurely at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital.

"He was two pounds and eleven-and-a-half ounces, and he was only 29 to 31 weeks ... He had some health issues, so he had to stay at Sunnybrook a little while after he was born."

Little hats

Brazil recalls that "there was some nice woman, who made some items that helped — a butterfly pillow to help elevate the baby and let him develop his weak muscles, a baby blanket, and some little hats."

That kind gesture inspired her.

"I love crocheting, and any amount of free time I have, my fingers are always going, so this was a good, touchy-feely and personal project to do."

Brazil just completed 40 hats for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She's hoping to make 200 more to send to Sunnybrook Hospital before she's done.

Red beanies crocheted by Melissa Brazil

Melissa Brazil made 40 red beanies for the province's Heart and Stroke Foundation, as part of a campaign to provide comfort items for newborns. (submitted photo)

"It makes me feel very good," she said, noting that she's paying forward the gesture of "a stranger who donated her efforts for my nephew." She encouraged others to do likewise.

"Not everybody can donate money, so time, effort and skill are just as important." 

With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show