Hope and Courage

Six Life Lessons from the Parents of a Child with Congenital Heart Disease

Non-Fiction - Self Help
148 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2023
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Author Biography

Tom and Kat Hansen got married in 2006, had their daughter Audrey in 2012, and their son Harding in 2014. Tom and Kat discovered Harding had multiple severe heart defects when Harding was 22 weeks gestation, and he has undergone three open-heart surgeries, in addition to many other surgeries and procedures. They live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and love going on adventures together. It is their family's mission to raise awareness for CHD families and get them the help and resources they need to live a fulfilling life in the midst of their child's battle with congenital heart disease.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite

Hope and Courage: Six Life Lessons from the Parents of a Child with Congenital Heart Disease by Tom and Kat Hansen is an inspirational journey regarding the highs and lows they have experienced as a family unit. It takes you from the earliest diagnosis of their son’s condition at a routine ultrasound appointment to how they manage life now. Filled with thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter, it is not only a flesh-and-blood model of how Tom, Kat, Harding, and Audrey conquer each day with grace and joy, but it is a powerful guide for others to find it for themselves.

Tom and Kat Hansen’s Hope and Courage touched me in a personal way. Their way of living, the lessons learned, and showing unbelievable strength in the face of hardships is a point that I have recently reached myself. This is not just the paper or digital form of a holy grail for those living with CHD but for those living with all medical, emotional, and physical difficulties. It is a ray of light for those that find themselves at the beginning of their darkest days or anywhere in between. They teach you to fight anxiety, anger, and fear, turning toward happier possibilities and living in the moment. This book should be a staple in hospitals and therapists’s offices as the ultimate source for finding love and light at the end of a tunnel.

Cloie Belle Daffon

Hope and Courage by Tom and Kat Hansen emphasizes the six life lessons they learned as parents of a child with congenital heart disease. Based on real-life experiences, Tom and Kat had been through their fair share of struggles and worry when their son, Harding, was confirmed to have Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). Join them in their journey of heartache and hope as they face one of the most significant challenges in their's and their son's life. Read how they turn their difficulties into strength and motivate others by writing about their experiences in this moving and inspirational self-help book!

Hope and Courage explores the Hansen family’s struggles with the surprising heart disease diagnosis and its subsequent consequences on their child and family. This thought-provoking self-help book taught me the value of focusing on healing the body, mind, and soul. The black and white pictures the Hansens share also showed me the struggles they bravely faced. I admired their ability to turn a difficult part of their lives into a learning experience. Through their hardships, they educated themselves about Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) for their son’s sake and adjusted their lives to support him. They learned new things, developed new skills, and gained many strengths. Tom and Kat Hansen took it even further, as if that was not amazing enough. They decided to share their experiences and the six life lessons they learned by writing Hope and Courage with a foreword by Dr. Nicolas L. Madsen. This powerful and heartrending story is a ray of hope for those facing similarly difficult circumstances. It offers not only encouragement but also hands-on experiences for CHD families. Excellent work!

Pikasho Deka

Being parents to a child undergoing treatment for serious medical disorders is never easy. But unfortunately, that is precisely what happened to Tom and Kat Hansen. In Hope and Courage, Tom and Kat recount their infant son Harding's diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease and his challenging and arduous journey to healing and recovery. Harding was born with three major heart defects, including Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, which required him to undergo a surgical plan consisting of three open heart surgeries until he was three. After struggling to accept their new reality, Tom and Kat went through several stages of denial and naive optimism until they learned to nurture an informed optimism mindset. Whether making tough decisions on risky procedures or dealing with stress and anxiety, the Hansens overcame the odds with faith, hope, and courage.

Hope and Courage is an inspirational story showcasing the resilient nature of the human spirit that propels us to navigate harrowing circumstances and find our way through adversity. Tom and Kat Hansen caution parents with CHD-diagnosed children to use the internet for information with a reminder that every case of CHD is different and each patient responds differently to the treatment. They present their experiences in a personable manner, which helps you relate to the circumstances they were in. At the end of each chapter, they provide reflection questions and useful advice to ensure their audience takes something from their story that might help in their own lives. Highly recommended.

Diana Lopez

Harding is a happy boy who loves to play and learn new things. Before he was born, during a routine ultrasound appointment, he was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). Therefore, he had to undergo three major surgeries. The first one was just after his birth. He was at risk during his first years of life until recovering from his last surgery. His parents, Tom and Kat Hansen, wrote Hope and Courage to share his story. In it, they talk about the emotional, physical, and mental challenges they faced. They describe some procedures without getting into technicalities and focus on their personal experiences. In this way, other parents or family members going through similar situations can have a sense of what to expect. Hope and Courage also shares ideas to help overcome some difficult moments.

Hope and Courage is a touching story. Tom and Kat Hansen have been through a lot, so they narrate their experience empathetically, and you can see their interest in helping the reader. They share their case and provide valuable advice on what they learned during those years. They focus on ideas of hope and trust as they explain everything they did to help Harding. I was struck by how they described things they would have liked to know beforehand and how they gathered information because that data is useful. Also, I loved the photographs because they show Harding's progress and the family's ability to adapt to the circumstances. Hope and Courage will inspire and help families going through similar situations.