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Fort Lee bluesman John D’Amato set to tug heart strings at benefit for Children’s Organ Transplant Association

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

SHOUT OUT: Guitarist John D’Amato is lending his “Born Blue Tour” for his latest CD to a cause that’s literally close to his heart — the Children’s Organ Transplant Association — in a special benefit show later this month at Mexicali Live in Teaneck.

D’Amato took up the cause after hearing about 17-year-old Johnny Damato of Fort Lee (no relation), who was born with a rare heart defect and received a life-saving emergency heart transplant two summers ago.

“I was born with a condition known as Coarctation of the Aorta [a narrowing of part of the aorta, the major artery leading out of the heart], which caused me to have circulation problems,” he said. “If my blood was having problems getting throughout my body I wasn’t getting enough oxygen.

“That lack of oxygen caused me to literally turn blue.”

D’Amato was finally brought home three weeks later with what at the time wasn’t a very good prognosis.

“Unfortunately in 1957 there was no way to correct [it],” he said. “The doctor’s speculated that as I grew the narrowing would create so much pressure in my aorta that eventually it would burst; it was just a question of when, so I had to be monitored closely and tested frequently. 

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WHAT: John D’Amato COTA Benefit Show
WHEN: Tues., Aug. 26 (8 p.m., DOORS: 6 p.m.)
WHERE: Mexicali Live, 1409 Queen Anne Rd, Teaneck

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“My childhood seemed like an endless routine of doctor visits and hospital stays until I reached age nine. At that point we were informed that a surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital had performed a new procedure on a young boy that corrected his Coarctation of the Aorta.

“So at age nine, I had the same life saving surgery,” D’Amato said. “One year later I was told by my doctor that I was totally healthy and did not have to come back and see him.”

D’Amato, like many, was stung when he learned of the struggles families endure trying to pay for the surgery, the continual visits to the doctor and the expensive anti-rejection medications children must take for the rest of their lives.

He has pledged $1 from each copy “Born Blue… The Sun Sessions” CD or Digital download sold to COTA for Johnny (the album was recorded at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis).

What’s more, $5 from each “Born Blue” T-Shirt sold will be split evenly between COTA and the International Children’s Heart Foundation.


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VISIT: John D’Amato:


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