Doctors said he’d never walk, but this ‘walking miracle’ defies the odds and lands an audition with Disney

Credit: Shiena McClelland

An eleven-year-old boy in Southeast Texas has always wanted to be a Disney actor, but his medical conditions have kept him in and out of hospitals time and time again.

But he’s also defied the odds time and time again.

Andrew Thomas, who likes to go by “AJ,” was born with a heart condition called truncus arteriosus type 1 which, according to the CDC, is a rare congenital heart condition in which a single common blood vessel comes out of the heart. AJ also has severe scoliosis.

Credit: Shiena McClelland

Because of his conditions, AJ has spent much of his life in the hospital setting. Doctors told his mother that he would most likely not live past his second birthday. They also told her he’d never walk.

“He has had multiple surgeries,” explained his mother, Shiena McClelland, during an interview. “Three open-heart surgeries, twenty heart catheterizations, two spinal surgeries, a trachea, and a vent.”

Children with AJ’s heart condition usually don’t survive to be older than about two years of age. In fact, according to AJ’s mom, he’s the only child so far that has lived this long with such a condition.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!