Meet another HLHS Dad: Matt Hammitt

Believe it or not, I was introduced to the term “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome” before we even knew my wife was pregnant.  I’m 99% sure I was on the Christianity Today website and was reading an article about Matt Hammit, who is the lead singer of the band Sanctus Real:

Sanctus+Real

The article talked about the band’s newest album at the time (Pieces of a Real Heart) but focued more on the story of Matt and his wife finding out that their unborn baby had a heart defect…HLHS.  I didn’t go and research HLHS right there or anything like that, but I read through the article and remembered how it talked about this CHD being “rare” and how they were praying hard that everything would be ok with their son (who they named Bowen).  My immediate thought after reading that article – I kid you not – was, “Oh wow, that’s pretty awful…I don’t know what I would do if I was in that situation.”  I know, right?  Crazy. 

Well time went on and to be honest, I forgot about the article.  I like Sanctus Real and listen to their music but otherwise I didn’t think about HLHS and definitely couldn’t remember how it was pronounced or spelled.  Then we found out about Nolan.  You know the story, if you’ve been reading this blog.  I remember one day, specifically: I was at home for a little bit while Nolan was recovering from the Norwood Procedure in the hospital, and suddenly the story about Matt and his son popped into my head.  I remember something about a CHD, but didn’t remember much else, so I looked him up.  I saw, once again, that Bowen was born with HLHS and this time it meant so much more to me.  I was amazed.  I saw that he went through his two surgeries and was doing well:

Matt-and-Bowen

And I learned that Matt made a solo album with songs that were inspired by his journey learning about Bowen’s heart condition and his birth:

MattHammitt

I searched like a madman for this album and couldn’t find it anywhere.  Months later I found it at a LifeWay Bookstore and bought the last copy.  For all you heart parents out there, I really encourage you to give this album a listen, since it really captures a lot of the emotion a heart parent goes through.  Sometimes it’s a tough listen because it reminds you of the tough times, and other moments it’s uplifting and hopeful.  The first song on the album, “All of Me”, is my favorite because it really captures how I’ve felt and at times continue to feel about being a heart dad.  Check it out here:

I am thankful for Matt for writing these amazing songs and pouring his heart into lyrics that will hopefully help heart parents out there, and even to help those who may not fully comprehend what we’re going through.  I’m thankful for Matt’s commitment to his family, his community, God, his band, and continuing to make awesome music.  He’s a great example of an HLHS Dad fighting for his son and all other heart kids.  I love to see updates about Bowen online: he recently went on tour with the band and it looked like he had a really great time.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be a heart dad while touring around the country. 

Matt and his wife Sarah have also started the Whole Hearts Foundation, which seeks to “Share God’s love by providing education, support, connections, and innovation for families of a child living with pediatric congenital heart disease – without boundaries of faith, culture, or economic standing.”  Learn more at: http://wholehearts.org/Home.aspx 

Again, this also goes to show that CHDs can touch any family: athletes, musicians, average joes…anyone.  I know I’m always thankful for those who choose to put themselves in the public eye and share their CHD Story and advocate for others.  Thanks Matt!

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About Chris Perez

My name is Chris aka HLHS Dad: I’m married with 3 sons. I love photography and the New York Yankees. I’m an admitted pizza snob and amateur balloon animal maker. Every now and then you can catch me being serious…but most of the time I’m quoting random commercials or lines from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Posted on March 13, 2014, in awareness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You were meant to come across that article. 🙂

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