Like many youngsters, Lex Loomis has a fascination with superheroes, and when he grows up he wants to be just like Captain America.
But the 3-year-old was born with a heart defect, heterotaxy dextrocardia, and instead of four chambers, his heart only has two.
"It doesn't get oxygen into his blood stream properly, so he gets tired easily. He's also very tiny. His 14-month-old sister is bigger than he is. He just doesn't look 3," said Jessica Reynolds Gibler of Prosser, a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation who helped to organize a party for Lex today.
Lex is facing another surgery soon, but first he is going to be treated to pizza, pop and games at Atomic Blast Game and Party Room at Atomic Bowl in Richland.
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"This is going to be his 'hope you get better' party," said Max Faulkner, part owner and general manager of Atomic Bowl.
After being contacted by Make-A-Wish volunteers, Faulkner made the party room, filled with electronic and riding games, available for the party at half price.
And, because Lex likes penguins almost as much as he does Superheros, he is going to have some one-on-one time with a penguin while at the zoo.
"He really deserves this, the party and the trip to California, because in May, Lex will have another surgery to help his heart. I know he's had at least one surgery when he was younger, maybe more, and I know he's facing more in the future," Reynolds Gibler said.
"But he's such a sweet boy, he doesn't let things get him down," she said.
If you know a child with a life-threatening illness or would like to volunteer with Make-A-Wish, call 800-207-8476.
w Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; email@example.com