Let’s show more heroism

Each year there are 30 to 35 fatal dog attacks in the United States. Emergency rooms see more than 350,000 dog bite victims each year.  This is a problem that is not going away, and recently it hit close to home. There is no clear way to stop the attacks, but one Monte Vista High School baseball player has shown the compassion we all should exhibit.
Ten-year-old Hunter Kilbourn was attacked Aug. 11, 2013 by dogs owned by a family friend while he was playing video games with their son.
Kilbourn suffered injuries to his face, scalp and arms from the bites and has been through multiple surgeries to repair the damage. He will likely have to endure even more surgeries in the future.
This attack hit me hard for two reasons.  One, I am distantly related to the family of Kilbourn through marriage. Two, the owners of the dogs who attacked him were my 9-year-old son’s soccer coaches.
When this happened I was taken aback because my son was a close friend of their son while they played on the same soccer team. But once the season was over we did not keep in contact.
Because of these relationships, my wife and I kept tabs on Kilbourn’s recovery, and did what we could to help, but it wasn’t much.
What Monte Vista High’s Lucas Halstead has done for Kilbourn and his family put to shame what any other adult did to help.
Halstead has become a star on the Monte Vista baseball team, and because of his abilities on the field he was invited to a baseball camp in Florida called Power Showcase. This is where he did something most adults would never think of.
The camp holds a home run derby in which money is donated to a charity of the campers’ choice depending on how well they each do. While the rest of the participants chose to donate to major charities, Halstead did something different: he donated to the recovery of Kilbourn.
How remarkable is that?
An 18-year-old boy could’ve given the $2,000 he earned for his hard work to any charity in the world, and he donated it to one boy.  And why? Because when Hunter returned to school for his fourth grade year, his new teacher just happened to be Karen Halstead, Lucas’ mother.
I’m 31 years old and had just as minor a connection as Lucas, but the difference between us is that while we were both interested in Kilbourn’s recovery, I sat and read about it online and he did something about it.
When Lucas Halstead learned Kilbourn was in his mother’s class, he was eager to meet him and a bond formed instantly between them. That bond led him to donate to Kilbourn’s recovery.
Dog attacks like what happened to Kilbourn don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
Last October, two dogs in Antioch attacked a man walking his own dogs, and then attacked the passersby who had responded to the man’s screams.  When the Antioch police arrived, the dogs turned on them and one was shot and killed.
On Saturday, Jan. 25 a San Leandro police officer shot and killed a dog as it lunged at him after attacking an 11-year-old boy.
These attacks are happening more frequently in our area and while there are things we can do to prevent our own dogs from becoming vicious, there will always be people out there who don’t properly take care of their dogs.
What we can all do, though, is anything in our power to help when we see something like this happen. Not because we have a connection. Not because we feel bad. But because we can, and it’s the right thing to do.
If an 18-year-old boy can do it, why can’t we all?