Couple starts foundation to help families with sick kids - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Couple starts foundation for families with sick kids

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Matt Hammitt reads a book to his 1-year-old son, Bowen, on Sept. 14 at their home in Perrysburg, Ohio. (AP Photo) Matt Hammitt reads a book to his 1-year-old son, Bowen, on Sept. 14 at their home in Perrysburg, Ohio. (AP Photo)

A local couple is working to help families around the country struggling with sick children. Matt and Sarah Hammitt of Perrysburg have a young son who was born with a rare heart defect. Bowen's illness was the inspiration for the Hammitts to start the Whole Hearts Foundation. The foundation will provide money and support to needy families with sick children.

Matt is the front man for Christian rock band Sanctus Real. The band is about to start a major tour, and while they're on the road he'll be spending a lot of time in hospitals providing hope for others.

When he's not on stage in the coming months, Matt Hammitt will be spending time in a number of different hospitals. It's something he and his family have done a lot of in the last year.

 "We lead a very interesting life," says Matt's wife, Sarah. "We just have to roll with all the different things. It's really just God's grace helping us navigate through the chaos of our lives.

Matt and Sarah's son, Bowen, was born with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome. Doctors say, in simple terms, Bowen has half a heart.

Every Christmas, every holiday and special event I struggle with feeling like it could be my last with Bowen," Sarah says. "I try to embrace every moment and enjoy it."

After two major surgeries, Bowen is making remarkable progress. In fact, doctors have delayed his next surgery until the summer of 2013.

It kind of feels like a little bit of a normal time, whatever that means," says Matt.

During Sanctus Real's upcoming tour, Matt will visit ten different hospitals, handing out money from the Whole Hearts Foundation to help fund research and help families who don't have the support system Matt and Sarah do.

"Congenital heart defects affect one out of every 100 babies born," Matt says. "It's a common thing people don't talk about, so starting the Whole Hearts Foundation allows us to raise awareness and also gives us a chance to reach out to families going through the same thing we are."

The Whole Hearts Foundation will be helping families of sick children with things like medical and grocery bills as well as mortgage payments.

If you'd like to make a donation to the foundation, visit the family's blog at You can learn more about Sanctus Real at

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