Thirty-eight years ago, on September 26, a baby was born. This baby had congenital birth defects; polysplenia, Scoliosis, a missing heart valve, and an inability to swallow liquids without aspirating into the lungs. In other words, to drink was to drown, there was a liver where a stomach should be, and a heart mounted semi-backwards. The child was essentially “scrambled eggs,” and was given just a small chance to last through the night.
A heartfelt prayer was offered. The baby hung on. He made it through that night and all the ones that followed.
At 6 years old, the child underwent open-heart surgery. Doctors replaced the defective valve, and stitched up a hole in the ventricle wall. The little boy’s blood was now fully oxygenated. He was able to run for the first time in his life.
At first, because the boy with the hole in his heart had never run before, one leg extended further than the other. This turned him just enough off balance that one side kept getting closer to the ground until he tumbled into the grass. But each time, he got back up, cleaned the grass out of his hair, and tried it again. Pretty soon, he got the coordination down became a very formidable soccer player.
At the age of 15, during a routine medical checkup, it was discovered that the young man’s spine was curving in epidemic proportion. Corrective surgery was called for. In the course of the routine operation, an unexpected error occurred. The boy’s spinal cord was substantially traumatized. He awoke paralyzed from the waist down. Again, a blessing was administered.
Still, doctors told the boy he would not walk again–ever. They put him in therapy to prepare for life in a chair. He asked for someone to teach him to walk, but nobody wanted to coach him. He’d been down this road before. So, each night–unbeknownst to the docs–he did his own therapeutic routine. 40 days later, he somehow got to his feet…and walked out of the hospital, leaving the speechless medical staff behind. He just left the wheelchair empty, and walked away. This miracle can’t be explained, other than the fact that this kid simply would not yield to adversity.
When this young man graduated from high school, he was given a standing ovation as he stood and walked across the stage to receive his diploma. There were no dry eyes in the room.
When the boy turned 36, it was discovered that the artificial valve in his heart had failed. He asked the hospital for a refund. They replied that it was only meant to last 10 years, so no refund could be given. So, once again, this man’s chest was cut open and his heart was “fixed.”
Today, the man is married and has 4 beautiful children. His wife, Sherrie, is a gymnast. His passion and profession is filmmaking. This January, his first theatrical feature film will be released in select theaters nationwide. In limited runs, it has broken several records. The movie, of course, has the heart of a champion. The title of the film is The Saratov Approach, and the trailer can be found online.
This man is my son, Garrett Michael Batty, and each day I am a better person because of him. Pysically, he carries angry scars both inside and out, but spiritually he is whole. He is one of my heroes, and the toughest man I know.
This boy is the real thing. There is no polyester in his personality.
- This article was written by Garrett Batty’s father, Michael Batty. Please check out the movie “The Saratov Approach.” It is a beautiful, inspiring story that comes from a good source.