Joey Powling Jr. has been called “ridiculously good-looking surgery baby” and “a baby Bruce Willis,” but he is more than just that. The three-month-old is also tough, having survived open-heart surgery at such a young age.
More than a million people around the country and world have viewed the good-looking baby’s photo, commenting on how incredibly cute he is, reports The Lowell Sun.
Little Joey Powling Jr. was born in July with a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). It is essentially a hole in the heart, though it is more complicated than that.
The ridiculously-good looking baby was diagnosed with the heart defect when his mother, Sarah Powling, was pregnant with him. Because of the early diagnosis, both parents and surgeons were able to put a plan in place to solve the problem.
Joey underwent open-heart surgery on October 25 at Boston Children’s hospital. While the surgery was successful, the baby and his parents still have a long road ahead.
The baby boy’s mother took a photo of her son five days after the surgery of Joey with a smile on his face and a large incision on his chest and stomach, which ended just above his belly button.
Matt Tassone, Joey’s uncle, posted the photo on Reddit with the caption, “My 3month-old nephew just had openheart surgery. Chicks dig scars, right?”
Someone has since captioned the photo “ridiculously good-looking surgery baby” and the photo has been posted on imgur.com and quickmeme.com.
Yahoo! News notes that one fan of the cute baby boy wrote, “What a legend,” while another said, “That baby is manlier than me.” But the photo means more than a simple photo meme on the internet. His mother explained her reasoning for taking the picture, saying:
“I took that photo because it was the first time they uncovered the whole scar. Joe was playing with him, and I just wanted to get a picture of the scar, and he started smiling.”
The baby’s great-uncle, Dan Phelps, wrote of the response:
“Sarah was at first a little taken aback by the attention Joey received online, but she and [her husband] Joe are now tickled by it.”
They are also hoping that the good-looking baby’s photo will help raise awareness for TOF. Most children affected by the disease require surgery in the first six months of their life followed by a lifetime of monitoring and medication. Additional surgery is sometimes required.
The Powlings are hoping that the “ridiculously good-looking surgery baby” will help raise awareness about how important pre-birth diagnoses can be. Thanks to the immediate treatment plan from the first day of Joey’s birth has been crucial to his health.