Omaha boy with a rare heart condition gets wish fulfilled

An Omaha boy got the surprise of a lifetime thanks to Make-A-Wish.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Josiah Bailey has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare genetic defect that only intensive surgery can treat, leaving him with half a heart.

After nearly a decade of fighting, he’s okay now. But Make-A-Wish wanted to give him a gift for his fight.

“I was surprised,” said Josiah.

His favorite superhero was right in front of him: Captain America.

“I didn’t know that this was going to happen,” he said.

Monday, Make-A-Wish came to Prairie Lane Elementary.

“Josiah has the biggest heart of any kid I’ve ever met,” said the Make-A-Wish volunteer that coordinated the surprise.

“He’s more than deserving of everything that he has coming his way,” said Nick Bowlby.

Josiah’s wish was a meal with a superhero -- and he was specific about the menu: Cheez-Its on a silver platter.

“And then he’s going to be off to Disney World and having fun with this family,” said Bowlby.

His mom was 23 weeks pregnant when they got the diagnosis.

“Yeah, this feels amazing. I can count multiple days when we didn’t think we were going to be here,” said Josiah’s mom, Carrie Bailey. “To be able to experience this Disney trip as a family is such a gift that celebrates life as a family and celebrates Josiah’s life.”

Also at the surprise were his grandparents, two younger siblings, and his father who is an officer with the Omaha Police Department.

“I thought it was only my class at first, but when I looked around it was a bunch of family. And the other class was here, and it surprised me because I didn’t know there was going to be so much people,” said Josiah.

Because of his heart condition, Josiah can’t do contact sports. Surgery remapped the blood flow from his heart, sometimes making him a bit more tired than others. But he loves reading, music, and movies, especially superhero ones.

“I don’t know about Marvel, but I think that’s in Universal, and when I do go there, I’m going to be really excited,” he said.

Just as he was today, excited with his friends and family at Prairie Lane Elementary. Captain America also bestowed his shield upon Josiah, because he too has a little superhero in him.