Morristown boy, 8, with rare heart condition joins Superhero Heart Race

Joshua Akins

MORRISTOWN (WATE) – The CDC reports roughly 40,000 babies are born each year with a congenital heart defect. One little boy who calls Morristown home was one of those babies eight years ago.

He’s growing up happy and healthy despite his diagnosis and is participating in the Superhero Heart Race in Alcoa. It’s funny how a cape can change your outlook.

“It makes me a very happy, energy, hero,” said Joshua Akins, 8. “My heart is special.”

Previous story: Superhero Heart Run comes to Alcoa in October

Joshua and his twin brother Kelby were diagnosed before they were born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

“It was terrifying,” said their mom Mitzi Akins.

Akins had to watch her babies go through a number of open heart surgeries. Sadly, Kelby passed away at almost eight months old after a number of complications and pneumonia.

“He was very strong and very brave, and he fought very very hard as long as he could,” said Mitzi.

Joshua and his twin brother Kelby were diagnosed before they were born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Joshua and his twin brother Kelby were diagnosed before they were born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

The Akins now want more people to know about congenital heart defects to encourage more research and maybe even a cure.

“The surgeries my sons have had were not available even 35 years ago. They’re very new and without the research he wouldn’t even make it,” she said.

The family takes each day at a time.

“We do what we have to do for his health, but we try to enjoy the good moments as well,” added Mitzi Akins.

Because he’s a little boy who’s beating the odds and one with a superhero angel.

“I’ve missed Kelby a lot,” said Joshua.

This Saturday’s Superhero Heart Run is the first in our region. It’s a 5K run, 2K walk and it’s too late to pre-register, ut anyone can come by to Springbrook park in Alcoa around 8:30 Saturday morning and be able to participate. If you’re interested, click here for more information.

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