By Matt Petras
Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer
At 11-years-old, Jack Hatten learned he had Crohn’s disease. This made for some hard times, but he found something that helped him.
“Music was just becoming more important to him, probably because of the isolation involved with Crohn’s disease,” his father Steve Hatten told The Current. “When you’re sick, you don’t really have anything to do other than be sick… you’re kind of bed-ridden just because you feel like crap. So you can’t really do anything physical, so he started playing guitar. That was his outlet”
Jack, alongside other musicians like Scott Blasey of The Clarks, will perform at the upcoming “Team Jackalope Spring Fling” concert with the intention of raising awareness of Crohn’s disease this Wednesday night in Bethel Park. Doors open for the April 24 show at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.
Jay Wiley, Tim Vitullo and other members of the Tim Vitullo Band, as well as Andrew Leahey and the Homestead will play in addition to Blasey and Jack. All of the groups are local, except for Leahey, who hails from Nashville, Tennessee.
Team Jackalope, formed a few years ago to create local “Take Steps” walks, a national series of fundraising events to help those with Crohn’s disease. Team Jackalope’s walks started modestly, with about 25 people made up, in large part, of family members, according to Steve Hatten. However, the next year they drew 50, and close to 100 in 2018
“At that point, we realized we kind of had something,” Hatten said. “So, we decided to use the power of the people and try to fundraise.”
The group started doing fundraising concerts last May, and then did another in December. Now, the family is doing another and Jack is the guest of honor.
After the main guys play, Jack, now 15-going-on-16, will do a few Tom Petty covers with the group.
“It’s hard to explain, but when you’re there, it’s really cool, because this kid kind of takes center stage, and these guys treat him like one of them,” Steve Hattten says. “And he actually kind of pulls it off. It’s amazing.”