Internet fame is a quirky thing. So often it emerges from a lucky combination of events captured purely by coincidence, as in the exceptional case of Joey Powling Jr. Three-month-old Joey was diagnosed in-utero with Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart condition that in his case manifested as a hole in his heart. With plenty of time to prepare for treatment, Joey’s parents and doctors put together a plan that recently culminated in open-heart-surgery.
Joey’s mom took a photo of the baby as he was recovering from the procedure and, just as she did, he looked over and offered her a serene, brave little smile. His uncle posted the outstanding picture to Reddit, where it gained karma, Reddit’s virtual currency, hand-over-fist, and made it to the site’s front page and subsequently, viral-levels of internet fame. Commenters dubbed the baby “ridiculously good-looking surgery baby” (in reference to another meme), “Baby Bruce Willis” and other fond nicknames. News outlets are running with the story as well.
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What’s in store for Joey? His treatment isn’t over, and his reddit thread is filled with people who live with similar heart conditions sharing stories of what they’ve overcome and how much they enjoy life. For now, though, he holds the singular distinction of being the most beloved baby on the internet. Until the next cute kitty picture is posted, at least.
What do you think of little Joey and his story? Let us know in the comments.