We all know the Carrington College family truly cares about the communities that are home to our 18 campuses. Our students, staff and faculty prove it regularly with frequent community focused events. But one particular community project, held annually at our Phoenix North campus, really tugs at the heart strings.
The Heart Pillow Project
The Heart Pillow project, started in 2010, helps raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week every February.
Now in its sixth year, students and staff spend weeks making heart-shaped pillows by hand.
This year, students delivered more than 400 pillows to children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital on February 17th.
Almost everyone on campus gets involved in one way or another, but the project is led by the Medical Assisting program. “Caring is in our DNA here at Carrington College, we love everybody! This is a wonderful community project, and all of our students did such a fabulous job getting this put together,” said Traci Chace, medical assisting instructor at the Phoenix North campus.
From The Heart
Home-made from the heart, each pillow is cut, sewn, stuffed and stitched by students, staff and faculty.
So that patients know the pillow comes with love from a person, each is accompanied by a hand-drawn card with personal words of inspiration or encouragement. The card is attached to the pillow with a ribbon and pin by the student who made it.
The most emotional part of the project is actually delivering the pillows to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, walking into patients’ rooms and handing the pillows to patients and their families. For those lucky enough to participate in the delivery, seeing the look of delight on the faces of the children is immensely rewarding. There’s often not a dry eye in the room.
“For us, it puts what we are teaching our students – especially those we are preparing for work in the medical field – into perspective,” Traci explained.
Although the project is to raise awareness about congenital heart defects, the campus always tries to make enough pillows so that no patient, no matter what their condition, goes without. Watch this recent Fox News segment 2 to see how much this project means to our Phoenix North campus.
Each pillow has a practical use. For some patients, it will be placed under the back of the neck so the head can be tilted back to change breathing apparatus. For others, holding a pillow to a chest that has been opened up for surgery aids with the necessary coughing to clear the lungs. For others, it’s just comforting to have something to hug that’s been made with love.
CHD – Most Common Birth Defect
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States and is a leading cause of birth-defect related deaths worldwide. It’s estimated that eight of every 1,000 infants born annually in the U.S., or 32,000 children a year, have a heart defect. Of these, about 25% require invasive treatment in the first year of life.1