Local Carrington College students craft more than 520 heart-shaped pillows, messages of hope for Phoenix Children’s Hospital

In recent weeks, students in the Medical Assisting program at Carrington College’s Phoenix North campus, which is located at 8503 N. 27th Ave., delivered more than 520 homemade heart-shaped pillows to Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) through its Heart Pillow Project, which aims to raise awareness of congenital heart defects. As part of the program, now in its eighth year, the pillows are cut, sewn, stuffed and stitched by students, staff and faculty to donate to the children at PCH. To bring a smile to each child’s face, they also attach homemade cards of encouragement to each pillow.

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 at Carrington College’s Phoenix North campus. “For some patients, the pillow might be placed under the back of their necks so their heads can be tilted back to change the breathing apparatus. For others, a pillow can help patients who cough to sit up, giving them something to hold on to.”

More than 100 Carrington College students took part in this year’s Heart Pillow Project, donating their own materials as needed and taking sewing kits home to ensure they would far exceed the original 400-pillow goal. In order to be respectful of the patients at the hospital, only 10 students are selected to personally deliver the pillows – those who have perfect attendance, excellent grades and have gone above and beyond in helping to craft the pillows with our team, Chace said.

Although the pillow project is intended to raise awareness of congenital heart defects, young patients with other ailments also received pillows.

When we talk about congenital heart defects to our classes, there are always students who share their stories about someone they know with the condition – it really does impact many lives,” Chace said. “Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting more than 35,000 babies each year.”

This project is one of many the local campus undertakes each year as part of its Carrington Cares community outreach program. Carrington College offers a variety of programs that lead to a certificate or associate degree. Programs prepare students for careers in the medical, dental and veterinary fields. For more information, visit www.carrington.edu.