Meet Joey Powling, the three-month-old baby boy whose smile has captured the attention of millions. That’s no exaggeration. This snapshot of Joey smiling away just five days after having open heart surgery has garnered more than a million likes on Facebook.
Diagnosed with a rare heart condition even before he was born, Sarah and Joseph Powling knew their son would need surgery early on. After the operation, Joey was happy, healthy, and recovering well. Sarah snapped this pic of her son cheesing it up, seemingly unaware he’s just come through a major operation.
Posting the snapshot on Facebook for family and friends, Joey’s brother asked to share it on Reddit. And the rest is history. Joey’s adorable pic went viral, inspiring dozens of memes, and giving him the title of the “Ridiculously Good Looking Surgery Baby.” The Powling’s have even appeared on the Today show where Matt Lauer declared, “This kid’s got game. There’s no question about it.” Indeed he does.
Joey’s condition, Tetralogy of Fallot, is extremely rare with just five out of 10,000 babies being born with the defect, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Without surgery, most infants will die before age 20. Joey however, is expected to recover fully and have a normal life expectancy. Phew!
Watch the video for the full interview on the Today Show.