Chicago Proud: Nurse knits red hats for babies

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- Like so many nurses, Jillian Wisniowicz puts her heart into her job.

She's a registered nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

Wisniowicz is participating in the American Heart Association's "Little Hats, Big Hearts" campaign for American Heart Month.

She knitted about 25 red hats to hand out to newborns.

"It's just really nice. I like to see their reactions to it," Wisniowicz said.

She learned how to knit when her mother was battling cancer. Her mother wanted the hats to wear over her wigs.

"I brought a pair of needles, some yarn and I brought my iPad to her chemo with her. I learned off YouTube and it kind of took off from there," Wisniowicz said.

She combined her new passion for knitting with the American Heart Association because her twin sister was born with a birth defect.

"What a great way between learning to knit and having my sister with a congenital heart defect, why not give back to the community," she said.

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans and congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect.

Wisniowicz says it takes about three hours to knit each hat.

"It is just so sweet to think of the other little babies," said Lindsey Berquist, who was excited to receive a hat for her newborn son, Ezra.

Jennie Moravec, Wisniowicz's manager, describes her as a model employee.

"She is a great resource for patients and families and the fact that she's been able to do something on our own time above and beyond her duties here on the unit is very cool," she said.

More than 200 red hats will be handed out at Good Samaritan this month, all handmade by Chicagoans.
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