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How a Utah child’s miraculous heart transplant led his mom on an improbable startup journey

When Tammy Bowers was told her son, Landen, wouldn’t live to see his first birthday, she didn’t give up hope. Instead, Tammy and her husband clung to the belief that somehow their son could overcome LEOPARD syndrome, a rare genetic disorder resulting in significant cardiac abnormalities.

With the clock ticking on his life, Landen was eligible for a “high-risk” heart transplant from a little girl in Iowa, a heart that had been turned down by 17 other families. Void of options, the Bowers accepted and Landen, whose middle name is Lion, received a new heart.

The aftermath of any major surgery involves countless hospital visits, consultations, and monitored progress — tasks the Bowers dealt with over the following years. It was during this time that Tammy came up with the idea for LionHeart, an app that connects patients and caregivers. Through this collaborative health management, users can easily track medications, store comprehensive medical information and receive real-time updates on patients.

The LionHeart app will be available for all iOS mobile devices on a date that holds very special significance for the Bowers family — February 4, which also marks Landen’s sixth birthday.

“We want to be the go-to medical tracking management app. No matter your medical condition, no matter how many people you care for, we really want to be the app that people go to. And we’ll continue building what people need with no other agendas,” said Tammy.

According to Tammy, traditional healthcare tracking methods include outdated tools like binders, whiteboards and phone alarms. This can be especially inefficient when spread between multiple caregivers, enhancing the chances of a communication error — the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare estimates that 80% of serious medical errors involve miscommunication between caregivers during the transfer of patients.

LionHeart hopes to remedy this problem by placing easy-to-use tracking tools within the app, creating a task list that users can go over each morning and ensure every need is met.

“Doctors rely upon us as caregivers to give them accurate and complete information. If we don’t they can’t do their job. The app is not just a tracking tool — it’s a way to advocate for your child,” said Tammy.

Tammy recently took LionHeart through the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle, a program designed to help entrepreneurs build their business through providing access to top business mentors, technology and marketing experts, office space and other resources.

That process helped led to the app launch where Tammy hopes to receive valuable feedback from users that will help shape LionHeart moving forward.

“What we’re releasing is just part of what we’re building. That’s what I learned at Microsoft — you will never have your whole product. There’s always going to be more you want to build. Get to a point where you can add value and that’s what you release, then keep building upon it,” said Tammy.

Clint Betts is the founder and executive editor of Beehive Startups, the leading independent organization devoted to covering and building Utah's startup and tech community. Follow Clint and Beehive on Twitter via @ClintBetts and @BeehiveStartups.