Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Heath and Slash jam together in LA

Heath had a dream of his come true on June 4, 2008. Heath got to jam with Slash from Velvet Revolver. Slash is his favorite musician and now a friend.

Seven of us traveled to LA for this special moment: his mom Karis, his dad Gary, his friend Tommy Busch, his brother Colt, his step mom Peggy and me. We all had a great time the entire trip. Of course the highlight was meeting at Slash's old house in the basement referred to as “The Cave” where he built a recording studio. He sold the house to Billy Bob Thornton who by the way just released a CD called "The Boxmasters". Billy Bob gave Slash permission for us all to use the studio and we would very much like to thank him and his family for that. We didn’t get a chance to meet him but we did meet J.D. who plays electric and acoustic guitar and bass and sings background vocals for The Boxmasters. He recorded the entire jam session and sent us copies of it all. Tom Mayhue, Production Manager for Guns N' Roses was there also and he helped get everything setup and made us feel very confortable. Myriam Santos who is a very talented photographer was there as well. She was taking pictures of the entire session and will be sending them to us. We also met Billy Bob's son Will who hung out with us in the control room and he was very pleasant and fun to talk with.

Heath and Slash played two songs that Heath has composed. Slash liked them both but especially liked the second song. The look in Heath’s eyes when Slash played the first riff that Heath showed him was priceless. It was amazing watching Heath and Slash play together. Between all of us, we had two video cameras and four digital cameras. We started off in studio taking pictures/video and then moved to the control room where J.D. was recording once they started really jamming. We had a great time watching them play while we talked with Tom, Myriam and J.D.

After they played both of Heath’s songs they took a short break and came into the control room where we continued to talk, take pictures & video and just have a great time. Heath and Slash seemed to click as if they were used to working together. After a short break Tommy got his guitar out and the three of them went back into the studio and played three more songs. After that session they came back into the control room where Slash signed a bunch of different things that we brought just for that purpose. He also gave Heath a book that I believe hasn’t been released yet that shows a pictorial history of Guns N’ Roses. Slash told us that it has been 3 years since he just jammed like that and it was very obvious to us all that he thoroughly enjoyed himself as well.

I met to ask Slash on video how he felt about meeting and jamming with Heath but I forgot to do that. So I asked him to put his thoughts into words and this is what he wrote:
"Heath is someone the likes of which you rarely meet. He is genuinely sincere & good natured, doesn't have a trace of attitude & always has a spirited, up tempo demeanor whenever I speak with him. He's got a fantastic sense of dry humor, regardless of if he's feeling well or not; it’s kind of remarkable! Having spent a few hours jamming with him & his friend Tommy, I got to know Heath a little better. Not only is he an awesome kid, he's a good songwriter as well! I definitely think he has a talent for composing music & although I haven't really read his lyrics, I've heard they're really good too. He definitely can play the guitar, that much I have witnessed, & pretty damn well too! Having Heath & his family out in LA was a gas. It was great meeting everybody & hanging out & laughing & playing music. I hope he gets better & beats this cancer; the world will be that much less of a place with out him. Heath is a special person I'm glad I got to meet, even if under such harsh circumstances."

Slash and Heath have talked on the phone several times. Slash has called Heath at times when he was really down and helped give him a boast when he really needed it. Slash sent Heath backstage passes in October of 2006 when Velvet Revolver came to Tampa. They got several pictures together and Heath got to see them play up close. That was the second time Heath had seen them play in Tampa. I’ve been telling Heath that he is a future rock star for awhile now and I think that Slash would now agree with me.

Slash is a very nice and genuine person. We had a wonderful time in LA and want to thank everyone that helped make it happen for Heath. We have a large extended family of which we now consider Slash a part of. He has reached out to Heath in a time that not only met a lot to Heath but met a lot to all of us that love Heath and for that Slash will always have a special place in our hearts.

Fundraiser Announcement

Heath's Aunt Melody is organizing another fundraiser to help pay for Heath's medical bills.
Here is the flyer that she asked me to post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Article in Bradenton Herald today, Jan 6, 2009

Here is a link to an article in todays Bradenton Herald.

Young musician, wise beyond years, passes on,

The lady that wrote the article met and interviewed Heath a couple of years ago.

"On New Year’s Day, family and friends of Heath Sammons gathered to celebrate the young musician’s life. May his amazing display of courage in the face of adversity be a comfort to those who loved him.
Heath died Christmas Eve, after losing his battle with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that affects children and adolescents.
On Feb. 25, Heath would have celebrated his 21st birthday. Even though he won’t celebrate that milestone celebration that marks one’s official entrance into adulthood, Heath was wise beyond his years.
I met Heath just over two years ago when I wrote a profile of him and the skateboard accident that proved to be a blessing because it revealed the tumor growing at the base of his spine.
We were sitting around the family dining table — Heath, his mom, Karis Meier, his stepdad, Jim Meier, his brother, Colt, and several member’s of Heath’s band, which had just changed its name from the Allen Litchburg Experience to Kileva.
Heath was having one of his good days. Hope punctuated every sentence as he and his family explained the treatment options outlined by his doctors.
While I listened, I found myself constantly drawn to Heath’s eyes. There was a peace there despite the harrowing chemotherapy treatments he had to endure.
“It’s going to be OK,” Heath said. “Whatever happens, it’s going to be OK.”
Then Heath picked up his guitar and let his music flow.
The network of support surrounding Heath was amazing, including an extended family of relatives and friends far beyond his hometown of Palmetto.
His father, Lt. Gary Sammons of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, told me of his son’s profound courage, his deep faith.
Heath’s mom was his stalwart advocate. Karis told me that when Heath’s illness was finally diagnosed by Dr. Phillip Tally, she asked him what she should do.
“He told me, ‘Do your homework, Mom,’ ” Karis said.
And she did, becoming a walking encyclopedia on osteocarcoma, charting Heath’s treatments, doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations and symptoms on spreadsheets and color-coded calendars.
I know the days ahead will be hard for Heath’s family and friends.
Of course, there are no words that can ease that pain, but I hope they realize that during his brief time here, Heath taught others how vital faith is to living a full life.
Donna Wright, health and social services reporter, can be reached at 745-7049."

Friday, December 26, 2008

02/25/88 TO 12/24/08
Palmetto, Florida

Heath William Sammons (20) passed from here into Heaven on the morning of Christmas Eve to be with Jesus. He battled a rare type of childhood bone cancer for three years with amazing courage and strength. Heath touched many lives with his outgoing personality and musical talent. His music will live on as he is now a Rock Star for Jesus.
Heath is survived by: His parents, Father: Gary Ryals Sammons and Stepmother Peggy, Mother: Karis (Eckley) Meier and Stepfather Jim Meier, brother and sister Colt and Karissa Sammons, Stepsisters Morgan Mitchell and Aubrey Lioce.
Maternal Grandparents, *Bill and Bonnie Eckley, Arthilla (Snooks) & Ed Lucier, Warren & Lorraine Sweetman, Paternal Grandparents, *Bob and Annette Moore, Step Grandparent Ted and Bonnie Meier, Aunts and Uncles: *Carl Ryals, Gary & Linda Sweetman, Rod & Barb Eckley, Denver & Laura Moore, Bruce & Chris Ryals, Melody Sweetman Carpenter & Ralph, Rich & Angie Lashaway, Eric & Teresa Sweetman and Mike & Diane Wilder.
*preceded in death
For those of you who would like to get to know Heath you can visit the attached sites:
His three year battle, http://www.heathsupdate.blogspot.com/ please visit the archives,
His faith, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/heathsammons Condolences may be left on this site on the guestbook.
His music and fun times,
Heath singing: Sweet Child O Mine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzEhI4SHof4
Videos: Pretty Woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSv3aGkDBxo
The Wild Wiener
Born to Be Wild
The Killing Killer That Kills
Ol’ Memories
The Magnificing Magnificents
Maginificing Magnificents and UnMagnificing Unmagnificents
Quiet Time
Fox 13 news (Jam with Slash in LA)

Heath’s celebration of Life will be held Thursday, January 1, 2009 at First Baptist Church in Palmetto at 11:00 am.

In Lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to: THE JOY FM 88.1 http://www.thejoyfm.com/

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sweet Child of Mine

Heath went to be with the Lord at 2:25AM this morning. His birthday is 2/25. He was very peaceful at the time. He had his mom and stepdad, Karis and Jim, and his dad and stepmom, Gary and Peggy, on each side of his bed. His brother Colt and other family members were also in the room. The last thing that Heath said, which was earlier, was "I need to change my tunes". Karis believes he is now playing for Jesus and we all known Jesus is enjoying Heath's music.

We are all doing well. Besides not having much sleep, Karis is doing well. She has shed a lot of tears and will shed more. She is a very strong, amazing woman with a big heart. She fought for her son's life as hard as anyone could imagine. She is at peace knowing where Heath is now. Vera Jo is making sure we have plenty to eat tonight. We have some amazing friends that we know we can call at anytime if we need something.

He was surrounded by people that loved him very, very much. He and our family have been so blessed to receive the support and love from our family and friends. Our churches and employers have been tremendous with their support and understanding.

At this time we do not know the details of the service but we are planning the Celebration Party now and we want it to be a party that Heath would have wanted.

Thank you all and God bless,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Special Prayer Request from Karis for Heath

I do want to post this request here also because of the importance. This is a journal entry that Karis asked me to put on the Caring Bridge site this morning, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/heathsammons.

This is Karis's husband. Karis wanted me to post a request that she wants to happen at 4PM today. She is on her way to church right now because she felt an overwhelming need to be there this morning.

Last night she had an inspiration or vision, she wasn't quite sure how to explain it. At 4 PM today she wants our house surrounded by people in prayer for Heath. She said it could be 5 people or 500 people as long as the house was surrounded. If you see this request and can't be here then she wants you to be in prayer for Heath at 4PM from where ever you are. She is very emotional this morning but I could see that this inspiration lifted her.

Heath has an amazing amount of faith that he will be healed. On several occasions he has asked people to pray for him but at this time he is not aware of this request. I'm not sure but I believe Karis may just want to fill this entire house with that kind of faith. So spread the word and join us all in prayer for Heath at 4PM today.

God bless you all,
Jim (Heath's stepdad)

Visit the Caring Bridge site that Karis setup

Please visit the Caring Bridge site that Karis recently setup. It is much more user friendly for her and has some nice added features. You can sign the guestbook as well as register to receive journal update notifications, which is something I wanted to do here but can't. I've been trying to get her to post on this site but the Caring Bridge is a much better place for her to keep everyone updated. I will also keep this blog going but may just post links back to the Caring Bridge site. Thanks Jill for getting Karis on that site.

Here is a link to the site, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/heathsammons.