It began with a Facebook request. I only had a Facebook account for a few months when a mother of an Angelman Syndrome child requested my friendship. You see, I have an 8 year old daughter named Noel who also has this rare syndrome. This friendship led me on a quest to search for other Angelman Syndrome families. It wasn’t long before I noticed all of these families had the same man, Regie Hamm, listed under their music interests.
I clicked over to see who this Regie Hamm was. Turns out I had already sent him a friend request that he accepted without even knowing who he was (although I knew he was the parent of an Angel). I read that he had just released a book called “Angels and Idols.” I was immediately curious and ordered the book over at Amazon.com.
Singer, songwriter, producer, and author Regie Hamm has a unique story that he shares in his book. Regie experienced a great deal of success rather early in his life with too many number one hits to count, several songwriter of the year awards, and even multiple Grammy and Dove Award nominations. Appearances would make it seemed like there wasn’t anything Regie couldn’t touch that didn’t turn to gold. Unfortunately, things were about to take a turn for the worse.
Regie and his wife Yolanda got a call that a little 8 month old girl in China needed a home. They named this little girl Isabella “Bella.” Bella was clearly sick from the moment the Hamm’s brought her home from China. She had trouble with feeding, a severe sleep disorder, and was missing all of her milestones. Eventually she began to have severe seizures. I identified with this part of the book the most because my daughter had all of the same issues. I kept thinking in my head, “Hey, they are talking about my Noel!”
Bella required constant full-time care and supervision which meant the Hamms were living on little to no sleep. Regie’s CD American Dreams was dropped, and the health insurance company refused to cover Bella because of a pre-existing condition that the insurance company wouldn’t disclose. Bella wasn’t officially diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome until 2007.
Regie’s journey begins to take a turn for the better when his wife Yolanda encourages him to enter the 2008 American Idol Songwriter contest. Regie won, and at the end of the season millions of people could hear David Cook singing Regie’s song “Time of My Life.”
I was captivated by this book from the very first page. Regie recounts the story of how his grandfather switched foxholes with a fellow soldier at Iwo Jima. Seconds later the soldier was killed in that very spot. If Regie’s grandfather had been in that hole, Regie never would have been born.
Regie’s book takes you full circle as Regie begins to live the words to the song “I Surrender All” that he co-penned with David Moffitt. This song was sung beautifully by Clay Crosse. The book also goes along with Regie Hamm’s CD “Set it on Fire.”
I highly recommend this book as I could not put it down. Not only will you go through the ups and downs with Regie and his family, but you will come out with a better understanding of Angelman Syndrome and all that parents of special needs children go through.
Learn more about Regie by visiting his homepage: Regie Hamm