Matthew and Sarah Hammitt were so excited to add a son to their family of two daughters, Emmerson and Claire. Sarah gave birth to Bowen Matthew Hammitt on September 9, 2010, at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. 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 months, 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 is currently seven years-old, and his heart is stronger than ever.
Through their experience, Matt and Sarah have gained first-hand awareness of the practical, financial, emotional, and spiritual needs of families with children suffering from heart disease. In response, they have started the Whole Hearts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, to help other families.
Matt is the lead singer and a 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.