SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - “To see my baby running and playing. I tell you, it’s our motivation.”
Lakesha Williams and her husband have been motivated to fight for their youngest child since before he was born, when they received unexpected news at his five-month pre-natal visit.
“It’s a boy! And then they realized they didn’t see part of his heart. My miracle baby is living and functioning with half a heart. He has had to date seven surgeries, seven heart surgeries, five open-heart surgeries and the first was actually when he was only three days old.”
And every day of his life since, 4-year old Joey has been an inspiration to his family, to anyone who has heard his story and to the American Heart Association, which selected him as their 2020 Open Your Heart Honoree.
“We’re so excited to be working with Joey and his family, Joe and Lakesha, they are just an incredible testament to staying diligent and faithful through their trials, they have gone through so much, Joey is such a trooper.”
The AHA has turned its Southern Coast Heart Ball and auctions into a virtual event this year and has made Joey the face of its Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign that is ongoing to raise money for the research and education the Williams family has fully embraced.
Joey will have his eighth heart surgery shortly after the new year - as he is serving as the Open Your Heart Honoree - and as he is continuing to inspire everyone around him.
“I always tell people I have four blessings and a miracle.”
And as soon as he’s out of the hospital, Lakesha expects to see him running and playing and being a normal 4-year old again - giving hope to others without even knowing it.
“It’s that big old smile. By the grace of God, we just keep on trusting and believing in God, and I tell you, look at those kids smiles in the middle of. You just got to make lemonade out of the lemons you get. Just when the rain pours, dance in the rain.”