An Arizona mom’s efforts to provide clothing for infants born prematurely has earned worldwide attention after a local news report shed light on her cause.
According to KOLD-TV, after Amanda Huhta gave birth to her son prematurely at 25 weeks gestation, she was upset that she couldn’t dress him in the hospital due to the tubes and medical equipment used to treat him.
"I just remember being in tears not being able to put something on him,” Huhta told KOLD. “You never really think it is important until you can’t find anything for your kid to wear. It’s like a right of passage being able to put something on your baby."
Now that her son is a healthy 3-year-old, she decided she wanted to help parents who are going through similar experiences. Huhta learned to sew and, with the help of her mother, began to make baby shirts designed with the needs of premature infants in mind.
"You put the baby flat on it and it just folds over with Velcro, so if there is an emergency, they can just rip it off,” Huhta said.
KOLD profiled Huhta’s effort after she began to hand out the shirts for free to parents at the Tucson Medical Center, highlighting her request for volunteers to help her cause, which quickly went viral.
“Probably within an hour of that story going on Facebook my phone did not stop ringing,” she said. “Within that next 48 hours I got almost 300 emails just from that local story being on Facebook. I did not expect for it to go like that. We were hoping maybe 20 people in Tucson would help us sew.”
Upworthy also shared Huhta’s story in a video that gained over 1 million views.
“It’s so cool to see it come from nothing and now it is on their baby in the hospital. The shirts have made parents so happy. It’s amazing. It’s a really good feeling,” she said.
Huhta now has “a volunteer sewer from every single state," as well as countries all over the world, including “someone from Brazil, Ireland, a bunch of people in Australia."
Huhta said she wants to turn her project into an official non-profit organization, but she needs some help.
“I’m trying to find a lawyer who would be interested in helping us do this," she said. "I don’t have enough money to pay lawyer fees. But we have enough to pay for the nonprofit fees that are required."