Extension service working on Heart Health Awareness

Submitted by

Jan Ballard

Choctaw County Extension Service


Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, with 1 in 4 dying of heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, Mississippi is in first place again, but it is not something about which to brag. Mississippi has the highest percentage death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country. Of course, one of the keys to move Mississippi way down this list of statistics is education and changing our habits and lifestyles. The choice is ours.

For a number of years, February has been designated as American Heart Health month. You may even notice programs, activities, and campaigns to help educate our population as to risk factors for heart disease and then steps we can take to improve our health. The Full Circle Knit/Crochet Group of the Choctaw County Extension Service would like to help raise the awareness of the problem in our area.

During the month of February, members (and anyone in the community who would like to participate) will be making knitted and crocheted items in shades of red. As always, the items made, which might include scarves, slippers, lap robes, mittens, prayer shawls, hats, and children’s toys, will be donated to residents of Mississippi. Since February of 2009, Full Circle has continued to give handmade pieces to individuals in need, to the Choctaw County Nursing Center, the Oktibbeha County Dialysis Unit, Safe Haven in Columbus, Rolling Hills in Starkville, and more.

The definition of warm – verb: to become warm or to make (someone or something) warm; adjective: feeling or showing friendship and affection/caring. In thinking of an appropriate name for this project, these words, with these meanings seem to be the perfect fit. The object is to emphasize the health of the human heart, but there will be more than one human heart involved and more than one kind of health. And the idea of knitting or crocheting items for someone is often to help that person feel warm physically, but also emotionally. Hopefully, the heart of the recipient will be warmed both ways and that person will also think about a lifestyle that will help to keep their heart physically healthy. Then, there is the heart of the giver. Little can warm a person’s heart more than the act of giving to another, and in so doing that person too might consider their own health and what could possibly be done to improve it.

So, the challenge is put forth. If you, or anyone you know, would like to contribute to this Warm the Heart project by knitting or crocheting something in an appropriate color (red, pink, purple, maroon, and any color in between) please bring it to the County Extension Office in the Courthouse Annex on Harmon Circle in Ackerman, Monday-Fridays 8:00-5:00. Or, if possible, come join Full Circle some Tuesday morning between 9:00-12:00 in the same building. If you have any questions or need any patterns, please stop by the office or call 662-285-6337. And, think warm thoughts, it might do you and your heart some good.