Last year, the world hailed Bridger Walker as a hero after jumping in front of a German Shepard to prevent the dog from attacking his younger sister. Bridger, who was just six then, justified his actions by saying, “If someone had to die, I figured it should be me.” He had 90 stitches to repair the damage to his face.
Robert Walker, Bridger’s dad, recently told PEOPLE that his son still stands by those statements, even though it has been a year after they were made. “We asked him, “Do you want it to go away?” since we were concerned for his well-being.
And he pleaded, “Please don’t let it go entirely.” “the man who’s already a dad to five kids said. “Bridger is proud of his scar, but he doesn’t consider it evidence of his bravery. He rationalizes his behavior by saying, “I was a brother, and that’s what brothers do.” It’s a reassurance that his sister is safe and sound.”
Credit: Robert Walker
He softly adds, “It almost upsets him sometimes when he’s dubbed a hero because [he feels], ‘Maybe I could have done more to safeguard her.'” His kid is now seven years old. Bridger, a young man from Cheyenne, Wyoming, showed an admirable lack of selfishness when he acted quickly to rescue his sister in a fire last July, winning the hearts of people all around the globe.
When his aunt Nikki Walker shared the tale on Instagram, it quickly went viral, with celebrities all across Hollywood praising the little child, including Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel).
In addition to famous people, there were others. Strangers worldwide who had heard of Bridger’s tale were writing messages to the kid and giving him meaningful presents to express their support.
When everything went viral, “it was shocking,” Robert says. We’d instead not go through it again, but the good outweighed the bad.
Credit: Teila Walker
“The video Chris Evans provided was incredible and included a shield. Bridger’s face had no greater joy, “It seems to be continuing. “The live call with Tom Holland must have had the most effect on him, as he was starstruck during the whole conversation. The fact that he was able to heal thanks emotionally to support from all across the globe means the world to us.”
One of the people who took notice of Bridger was a dermatologist named Dr Dhaval Bhanusali from New York City. Bhanusali volunteered to fly Bridger to his clinic and treat him for free.
Robert recounts, “He gave us so much optimism” after seeing another specialist who told him that Bridger’s wounds could not be repaired for at least two years. That was the first rainbow we’d seen since all that had happened.
Bridger Walker endured two laser operations, and the Walkers accepted Bhanusali’s generous offer and travelled to New York. Bridger began visiting Dr Cory B. Maughan, a dermatologist in Utah, for two more treatments when cross-country travel became difficult due to the epidemic.
They have all contributed to Bridger’s reduced scarring and restored optimism. Robert notes that after a year of treatment, the scarring is mainly gone, thanks to the efforts of Drs. Bhanusali and Maughan. “Before we left the hospital, we couldn’t help but wonder, “Is he ever going to have a grin again, or is it always going to look injured?” Seeing his mood brighten again is beyond our wildest expectations.”
Bhanusali tells PEOPLE that Bridger “took it like a warrior” throughout his treatments, which are “not the easiest for a young man to go through.” The dermatologist laughs, “I probably displayed more agony in my face performing it than he did.” “I can’t think of a more courageous little guy than that youngster. The extent of the damage wasn’t fully appreciated, in my opinion.”
Bhanusali elaborates, “You want him to grin genuinely like himself, not like a muted imitation of himself. That was our victory; it was the best thing that could have happened when we first saw it.
According to his father, Bridger is awaiting the results of the bottom half of his scar’s reaction to the most recent operation before deciding whether to proceed with further treatments. The redness and tightness of the subdermal scarring will be treated, and Robert and Bhanusali feel the results appear good thus far.
Bhanusali explains, “Structurally, everything looks so much better, but we still have some thing to do on the surface, the redness side of it.” “When Bridger is in middle or high school, I don’t want this to be a traumatic daily reminder, but rather a narrative he recounts. And I anticipate that happening.”
Robert says he is happy to see his “bright young child” become his “fun, sociable, and full-of-life” self again as Bridger recovers. Bhanusali saw it: “His character, pleasure, and delight shine through. It’s like meeting a new person when you finally get a good look into his eyes. “It’s what he says, after all.
Robert adds that he will be eternally grateful to everyone who has been there for him and his family over the last year.
He describes the event as “completely miraculous.” There’s “something remarkable” about the fact that “thousands, if not millions,” of people all around the globe have reached out to a stranger they’ve never met because they care about the safety of a 6-year-old child in the middle of Wyoming.
“I’m very thankful”, he says. And if there’s a takeaway from this, decent people are out there, ready to step up and do big things for the underdog, as one character puts it.