Heat Announcer Uses Voice To Say Thanks - NBC 6 South Florida

Heat Announcer Uses Voice To Say Thanks

Ilana Baiamonte, now 14, is happy and healthy.

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    Heat Announcer Uses Voice To Say Thanks
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    MIAMI - JULY 17: (L-R) Miami Heat PA announcer Michael Baiamonte and Udonis Haslem appear during the Miami Heat Summer Jam at the American Airlines Arena on July 17, 2007 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

    Michael Baiamonte is the face behind the familiar voice you've heard at Miami Heat basketball games for almost 20 years.

    Saturday night, Baiamonte will use that voice to MC the Miami Children's Hospital Diamond Ball. It's his way of saying thank you for the time they saved his daughter's life.

    "I looked at the photograph of my two-year-old's heart," said the Heat's PA announcer, "and it looked like a piece of Swiss cheese."

    Baiamonte's daughter Ilana had 12 holes in her heart. She was diagnosed with an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), and needed open heart surgery.

    "To see her come out of that surgery with all those tubes," said Ilana's mom, Natalie Baiamonte, "all I wanted to do was hold her."

    Just one day after the surgery by Dr. Redmond Burke at Miami Children's Hospital, Ilana was back to normal.

    "She was running around playing with her sisters," Michael Baiamonte said. " Less than two days later...it's amazing."

    Ilana was too young to remember the surgery, but she carries a reminder everywhere she goes: a scar, right across the middle of her chest, that Dr. Burke calls, "her badge of courage."

    "Other people will notice it and they'll be like 'What happened?'" Ilana said. "And when I tell them they're like, 'What, are you ok?' and I'm like, 'Yeah, i'm fine,' I can play any sport and I'll be fine."

    If not for the scar, you'd never know Ilana, who's now 14, had her heart fixed as a baby.

    "I think it's amazing how the doctor heard something in my heart and knew it was wrong. He found it," she said.

    And the Baiamontes never missed a beat.