Students in the Medical Assisting program at Carrington College’s Phoenix North Campus on Feb. 17 delivered 400 homemade heart-shaped pillows to Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH).
The community outreach was part of Carrington’s Heart Pillow Project, which aims to raise awareness of congenital heart defects. As part of the program, now in its sixth year, the pillows are cut, sewn, stuffed and stitched by students, staff and faculty to donate to the children at PCH over the course of six weeks. And, to bring a smile to each child’s face, they also attach cards of encouragement to each pillow with a ribbon and pin.
“Not only is the message included with the pillow meant to be inspirational, but the pillow will have a practical use,” said Traci Chace, medical assisting instructor with Carrington College’s Phoenix North campus. “For some patients, the pillow will be placed under the back of their necks so their heads can be tilted back to change the breathing apparatus. For others, a pillow helps patients who cough to sit up and hold on to the pillow and cough. It helps children because it’s something to cuddle with, and it helps the parents by having something to hang on to.”
Although the pillow project is intended to raise awareness of congenital heart defects, young patients with other ailments also received pillows.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, congenital heart defects are considered to be the most common birth defects in the United States, affecting 1 in 100 births each year, and are a leading cause of birth defect-related deaths worldwide.
“Despite the fact that congenital heart defects affect approximately 1.8 million families in the United States, a relatively small amount of funding is currently available for parent/patient educational services, research, and support,” says Chace.
This project is one of many the local campus undertakes each year as part of its Carrington Cares community outreach program. Carrington College Phoenix North, 8503 N. 27th Ave., offers a variety of programs in the medical, dental and veterinary fields. For more information, visit www.carrington.edu.