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Sanctus Real will be one of nearly a dozen Christian artists taking part in the Winter Jam tour that starts in January, with stops in 47 cities.

Bowen Matthew Hammitt was born on Sept. 9, 2010. His first open-heart surgery came four days later and the next night he went into cardiac arrest. A team of doctors and nurses spent an hour performing CPR until they were able to revive him and get him on life support.

Complications and a stroke kept him in the hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., for just over two months.

While there, the couple played demos of the songs Mr. Hammitt had written “so Bowen could hear his dad’s voice,” his wife said. Night-shift nurses often turned up the music when most families would leave for the evening.

“They felt it was good for all the babies to be soothed,” Mrs. Hammitt said. “We’d come back in the morning and it’d be really loud.”

Mr. Hammitt recorded the songs for the album soon after the family brought Bowen home to suburban Toledo. His only unease was that they might be critiqued like any other work.

“Originally, I just wanted them recorded for us at the hospital,” he said. “I realized they’re meant to comfort other people, too.”

So far, the response has been what he hoped for. They’ve even received notes from parents who’ve played the songs at their children’s funerals.

Now, the Hammitts want to take their work a step further by starting the Whole Hearts Foundation, a source of financial, emotional and spiritual help for families with children suffering from congenital heart defects. They see the foundation becoming their life’s work.

“It’s amazing to see even beyond the album what’s come out of this,” Mr. Hammitt said. “We had a vision in the hospital, how can we help other families, let them know they’re not alone.”

Bowen, who turned 1 in September, faces one more surgery, now slated for 2013, to repair his heart. He’ll likely need a new heart before he reaches middle age.

He’s growing, but not as fast as doctors would like. Mrs. Hammitt watches him closely for any signs of heart failure. He only has a single ventricle pumping oxygen to his body and lungs so she looks to see if he sweats when he eats or if his skin turns blue or red.

When Mr. Hammitt brought him downstairs after a nap, a look of worry crossed her face when she saw that his hair was matted with sweat. But it turned out there was no cause for concern.

“We know at any moment things could change even though he’s stable now,” Mrs. Hammitt said. “It’s ultimately God’s will.”