MARNE, Mich. (June 2, 2014) — Ryan Hamm had a great day at the track.
“I was telling myself, ‘Alright, sweet. I got the first heat win,'” Ryan says. “‘Let’s try for number two.'”
That was just after 6:30 p.m. at Berlin Raceway on Saturday. About 30 minutes later, Ryan had three more wins. He says he’s been told that hasn’t happened at the track in Marne in 40 years.
He did it in a car covered in the decals of his sponsors – but one section stands out more than others: the section with a picture of a hospitalized infant girl.
“When we do autograph session and people come down,” Ryan explains, “they ask – little kids ask – who the little baby is.”
The little baby is his daughter, Ashlynn.
This weekend – specifically Monday – has been a time to remember her.
On June 2, 2009 – five years ago Monday – Ashlynn Elizabeth Hamm passed away. She was just six months old.
FOX 17 first introduced viewers to April Hamm – Ashlynn’s mother and Ryan’s wife – in November of 2009. During April’s pregnancy, it was discovered that the Hamm’s first child had a litany of health issues, the biggest being Ashlynn’s underdeveloped lungs.
Ryan also races with a March of Dimes decal on his car. The foundation isn’t one of his sponsors – but he and April want everyone to know what they were able to do for their daughter.
“She was beyond their help, but…” Ryan trails off.
April picks the explanation up.
“But she was impacted by a lot of their stuff,” she says. “Like the surfactant that the March of Dimes funded research for – she was given that. So if she wasn’t given that at birth, she would not have survived days at all – and we had her for six months.”
“So we got really lucky.”
The Hamms now have a 20-month old adopted son, Decklan. He’ll never get to meet Ashlynn. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t already know about his big sister.
“He knows ‘Sissy,'” April says. “When we tell him, ‘Who’s this in the picture?’ He says, ‘Sissy!’ So he knows.”
“When he gets older, we’ll definitely tell him her story.”
Video courtesy of Mitten Motion & Video and Berlin Raceway