Matthew and Sarah Hammitt were so excited to add a son to their family of two daughters, Emerson and Claire. Sarah gave birth to Bowen Matthew Hammitt on September 9, 2010, at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital. As detected by an ultrasound before he was born, Bowen was born with a serious and rare congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.
Just a few days after his birth, Bowen, whose name means “small, victorious one,” underwent his first open heart surgery. The surgery went well, but the next night he suffered cardiac arrest and Matt and Sarah feared they would lose him. After an hour of CPR on his tiny chest, still open from the surgery, Bowen was revived and placed on life support. Slowly over the next few weeks, Bowen became stronger and no longer needed to be on life support or even oxygen. However, he had other complications including a stroke and being diagnosed with hyperinsulinism.
Bowen has been released to home care until his second surgery, scheduled for February 2011. His third surgery will take place when he is 2-3 years old. Through Bowen’s experience with HLHS, the Hammitts have become part of the community of families that have a child affected by a congenital heart defect.
First hand, they have gained awareness of the needs of these families – practical, financial, emotional, and spiritual. They are in the process of starting of foundation from which to they can draw resources to assist families who have needs in any number of these areas.
Matt is the lead singer and one of the founding members of Grammy-Nominated, Dove Award winning band Sanctus Real. With eight No. 1 hits on the Christian music charts and 15 years on the public stage, Matt has a unique platform to champion awareness for congenital heart defects.