Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
DRACUT (CBS) – Type “ridiculously good looking surgery baby,” into your search engine and you’ll find hundreds of links to the picture of a 3-month old Dracut boy named Joey.
The photo shows the infant flashing an adorable grin, despite the large scar across his chest.
“I started taking the picture and Joe was next to him playing with him and all of a sudden Joey started smiling with this big huge smile and I thought, ‘Whoa this is a cool picture,’” said Joey’s mom, Sarah Powling.
Whether it’s the massive scar or the look that seems to say, “It’s cool I’ve got this,” something about the picture of little Joey Powling struck a nerve with millions of people all over the world.
“Just the fact that he’s happy, with everything going on, being away from his own environment, having that scar and he really could care less,” said his dad, Joe Sr.
The photo was taken five days after Joey had open heart surgery. Sarah posted the pic to her Facebook page.
And her brother re-posted it to a photo site with the caption reading, “Chicks dig scars right?”
By the next morning, it had 200,000 views. The picture went international, picked up by a radio station in England.
“There were another million ‘likes’ and it just went crazy after that,” Sarah said.
Joey’s uncle wrote a column for the Lowell Sun. Next came Yahoo and the Huffington Post.
Viewers comment on Joey’s bravery and his tough guy appeal. They’ve dubbed him “Baby Bruce Willis”. And Sarah’s personal favorite, “If Chuck Norris had a baby, he’d almost be as tough as this.”
A lot to live up to for a guy still in diapers. But Joey’s been beating the odds since he was born with a heart defect.
“He’s been such a good calm relaxed baby the whole time, he barely cried,” Sarah says.
Now she hopes he can inspire others. If Joey can smile, so can they.
Sarah is grateful to the doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston. She hopes all of this attention can bring awareness to the issue of childhood heart defects.