A child’s struggle inspires mom to launch app

A child's rare disorder leads to mom launching app
A lionhearted app success story

Like any parents, Tammy and Joseph Bowers' life changed when their son Landen was born in February 2010. But the change was greater than the couple expected. Their fourth child came into the world with a rare genetic disorder called LEOPARD syndrome, which causes cardiac abnormalities, leading their son to undergo a heart transplant at just three months old.

Little Landen wasn't expected to live long. His father bought him a stuffed lion to keep in his crib, and his parents nicknamed him Lion. The Bowers were juggling a schedule with nearly a dozen medications and specialists to keep track of throughout the day. Tammy was attempting to do this with a big paper binder, which proved clunky and ineffective, and risks were always present, including double-dosing Lion with medication.

"I needed a better way to track all that information," said Tammy. "It's not always just me caring for him, as my husband is also at home and we have babysitters and grandparents. We needed to all be on the same page at the end of the day."

Tammy Bowers, CEO of LionHeart Innovations, with her son Landen “Lion” Bowers. LionHeart is a medical collaboration app that enables caregivers to seamlessly keep track of medications and other needs.
Ross LeClair | CNBC

Two years ago, Tammy began working on the idea for what would become LionHeart Innovations. The company offers a cloud-based source for a patient's medical profile and works as a collaboration tool for caregivers. The iOS app, which launched in February 2016 on Lion's sixth birthday, lists everything that has been completed by caregivers and what still needs to be done.

Tammy graduated with a degree in child development but had been a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade before founding LionHeart. Her husband has a decade's experience managing financial and technical business projects and teams.

"At the end of the day, you can look at this and say, 'I did all that I can,'" she said. "That's how you sleep at night, when you're caring for someone and their life is in your hands."

The busy mom was accepted into the Microsoft Accelerator Program in Seattle in 2015. She went through the accelerator pregnant with her fifth child, who is now eight months old, and gave birth just days before pitching to the investors at Demo Day. Her husband now acts as general manager of LionHeart, and Tammy is CEO, moving the family from Salt Lake City to Seattle permanently after participating in the program.

Garmentory CEO John Scrofano and Jill Donnelly, owner of Baby & Co., a clothing boutique in Seattle
The clothing platform that lets you ‘shop small’

To date, the company has raised $150,000 from Microsoft, JW Capital and BoomStartup. In the first six weeks of launching the app, it had 650 downloads in eight countries. It's proved useful for others in similar positions, like Crystal Job, who is caring for her daughter Brindy, who is five years old and struggling with primary ciliary dyskinesia, a genetic disorder that impacts the respiratory system.

"She was sick a lot. At her worst she had 11 antibiotics in eight months," said Job. "LionHeart has made a huge difference. We are really busy, and my phone just alerts me. I don't have to think about it or calculate hours."

At the end of the day, you can look at this and say 'I did all that I can.' That's how you sleep at night, when you're caring for someone and their life is in your hands.
Tammy Bowers
LionHeart Innovations founder and CEO

Right now the company's focus is primarily caregivers, but Tammy is hopeful doctors will get on board soon.

"I fought for this. It's a way for me to care for my son," Tammy said. "And for others to care for their children, their parents, themselves. It's something I will never give up on."

Lion himself is continuing to defy the odds. Like any six-year-old, he loves candy — Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, to be clear — and cartoons like "Bob the Builder." He's now in kindergarten, and his medications and care are being managed on the app his mom created, which has simplified the process for the family.

"He hit a little rejection back in December, so we have to add some new meds, and we will have to test him again in July, so that's just part of life," Tammy said.

On his best days, his mom says he wakes up, puts his hands behind his head and says, "This is the life."

Join America's most influential entrepreneurs, such as Kevin O'Leary of "Shark Tank" and Robin Chase, co-founder of ZipCar, in person at iCONIC in Seattle on April 5, 2016.