'Ridiculously Good-Looking Surgery Baby'-- Who Is Baby Joey?

By Staff Reporter on November 6, 2012 11:54 PM EST

(Photo: Sarah Powling) Quickmeme
(Photo: Sarah Powling) Quickmeme

Next to cats, cute baby memes are as popular as they get. While "Success kid" and "drunk baby" are certainly outstanding, there is now a new baby in town -- "Ridiculously Good-Looking Surgery Baby."

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A picture of three-months-old Joel Powling Jr. was posted on the net, celebrating his charming Bruce Willis smirk and his easygoing disposition. However, beyond his good looks, it's his heroic battle with a heart condition that has won the heart of fans from all over the world.

Shortly following a successful heart surgery procedure, a photo of Joel Powling Jr. was taken on October 30 by Joel's mother Sarah and then uploaded by grand-uncle Dan Phelps.

According to Dan, "Joey Powling Jr. was born in July with a condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot, or TOF, which is, basically, a hole in the heart (although there is more to it than that) ...Luckily, Joey was diagnosed while my niece, Sarah Powling of Dracut, was pregnant, and a plan was put in place to deal with the problem. That plan included open-heart surgery when he was three months old."

Following the surgery, Sarah anxiously waited to see her baby with camera in hand. "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."

Calm and collected, baby Joey looked particularly at ease, shrugging off the medical procedure like it was no big deal. Sarah's brother, Matt Tassone, later posted the photo onto Reddit with the caption: "My three-month-old nephew just had open heart surgery. Chicks dig scars, right?" Within moments, baby Joey's inspirational grin became so popular that it reached a million fans as the image was shared at exponential rates. The image had since been bumped to site homepage, to Facebook, to Quickmeme, as well as Twitter.

Initially, Sarah was stunned with the growing attention her son was receiving. Later, she and husband Joe had realized the wonderful opportunity they had been given. Thanks to how quickly the "Ridiculously Good-Looking Surgery Baby" meme snowballed, the proud parents thought it would be the perfect way to raise awareness of TOF treatments so that more babies can receive the same medical attention as their baby.

According to Yahoo!, nearly 2 out of every 10,000 children suffer from Tetralogy of Fallot. What's more, most will require surgery within the first six months of life before lifelong monitoring and medication. In some cases, additional surgeries are required and arrhythmias risk and other heart ailments will pose a constant threat to a TOF survivor's well being. All in all, its the early detection of TOF that is most important.

Thanks to Joey, raised TOF awareness will hopefully improve the lives of future infants of TOF as well.

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