A little boy who was mauled by a dog while saving his sister is making an incredible recovery thanks to a team of renowned doctors who have volunteered to treat his facial scars pro bono after hearing his inspiring story.
Bridger Walker, six, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, bravely put himself between his younger sister and a charging dog this summer, suffering several bites to his head and face that required 90 stitches.
The national hero’s scars are fading day by day with the help of top dermatologists — Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, Dr. Cory B. Maughan, and Dr. Sandra Lee, a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper — who have ensured he is getting top-of-the-line laser treatments.
Hero: Bridger Walker, six, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, (pictured in November) has made an incredible recovery after being mauled by a dog this summer while saving his younger sister
Progress: Bridger needed 90 stitches after the dog bit his head and face in July (left). Five months later, his scars have faded thanks to the laser treatments he has been getting (right)
Brotherly love: Bridger bravely put himself between his younger sister and a charging dog and managed to get her to safety despite his injuries
So far, Bridger has undergone two rounds of treatments to reduce the redness and bumpiness of his scars following the incident.
The Walkers traveled to New York City in August, shortly after Bridger’s stitches were removed, for his first session with Dr. Bhanusali, who used Sciton erbium and Cutera excel V+ lasers to smooth the skin before the scars’ curves set in.
‘Every once in a while, we come across patients who do more for us than we can ever do for them,’ Dr. Bhanusali said. ‘Bridger inspired me and in a time where so much negativity was surrounding the world, he provided hope and represented all that is good.
‘It is my greatest privilege to try and help, and while a few of us may get the credit, this story is more about the dermatology world coming together to help a little boy who is truly a hero,’ he added.
‘We are fortunate to be in a place where we can help heal and I’m just thankful to be part of this wonderful dermatology community.’
Worth it: Inspired by his story, dermatologists Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, Dr. Cory B. Maughan, and Dr. Sandra Lee, a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper have been treating him pro bono
A month later: Bridger’s scars are pictured before and after (left to right) his stitches were removed in August
During Bridger’s visit, Dr. Bhanusali texted Dr. Lee, who was seeing patients in California, to tell her that the little boy is a big fan of hers.
‘We are about to do a laser treatment and he is so brave but, of course, is apprehensive. Can you say hello?’ he asked.
‘How could I say no? It’s so wonderful that both Dr. Bhanusali and Dr. Maughan are helping him improve his scars,’ Dr. Lee said. ‘Although I am not directly involved in his care, if I can do anything to make Bridger more comfortable and remind him what a brave, kind, good young man he is, I’m there.’
‘I am the lucky one — that Bridger knows my name and I have the opportunity to meet him,’ she added. ‘He is in great hands, and I look forward to following his progress.’
In October, Bridger had his second round of treatments with Dr. Maughan in Utah, which is closer to where the Walkers live. This time, he was treated with Candela Vbeam and Alma erbium lasers.
Amazing spirit: Photos of Bridger’s progress have been shared on his father Robert’s Instagram page, and the little boy is already back to smiling
Healing: The Walkers traveled to New York City in August, shortly after Bridger’s stitches were removed, for his first laser session with Dr. Bhanusali
Recovery: The top photos show Bridger’s scars before and after (right to left) his first laser treatment. The bottom shows them before and after his stitches were removed (right to left)
Dr. Bhanusali explained the various lasers are targeting two different issues — the look (redness) and texture (smoothness) of the scars.
Bridger is proud of his scars because they’re a reminder of how much he loves his sister. The goal is not to make them disappear, but rather get them to the point that they’re not the first thing people notice.
‘Bridger is such an inspiration during these tough times. His courage and bravery are deserving of every accolade,’ Dr. Maughan said.
‘Dr. Bhanusali and I have been blessed to be part of his recovery and feel privileged to be able to use our expertise to help his scars heal the best they can.’
Photos of Bridger’s progress have been shared on his father Robert’s Instagram page. The little boy, who is already back to smiling, is to receive a few more rounds of laser treatments this year.
Most recently, his parents announced on social media that they rang in the new year with a new dog, whom their son named Loki.
‘Bridger made sure we knew what his vote for the name was by putting post-it notes all over every surface of the house. How could we say no to that?!’ the dad said. ‘Bridger started off a little nervous, but Loki is such a sweet, mellow, and fun little puppy. I’m sure it won’t be long before they are best buds.’
Getting there: In October, Bridger had his second round of treatments with Dr. Maughan in Utah. His scars are pictured right before and after the session (left to right)
Deserves it: Bridger, who loves superheroes, has been praised for being one himself. Last month, he received a replica Mjölnir from Shield Labs
So sweet: Bridger (pictured before the attack) is proud of his scars because they’re a reminder of how much he loves his sister
Bridger captured the hearts of thousands last year after his aunt Nicole Walker shared his incredible story in an Instagram post in July.
‘My nephew is a hero who saved his little sister from an attacking dog,’ she wrote. ‘He, himself, took on the attack so that the dog wouldn’t get his sister. He later said, “If someone was going to die, I thought it should be me.” He got home from the hospital last night.
‘I know it’s a long shot,’ she added, ‘but I’m reaching out to the Avengers and other heroes so that they can learn about this latest addition to their ranks.’
Anne Hathaway responded by sharing photos of Bridger on her Instagram account, writing: ‘I’m not an Avenger, but I know a superhero when I see one. I can only hope I’m half as brave in my life as you are in yours, Bridger.’
The actress tagged Avengers star Mark Ruffalo, who penned a thoughtful message praising the young hero.
‘Dear Bridger, I just read about what happened to you and I wanted to reach out to say this… People who put the well beings of others in front of themselves are the most heroic and thoughtful people I know,’ he wrote.
Happy: Bridger’s parents announced on social media that they rang in 2021 with a new dog
Too cute: Bridger’s parents said he ‘started off a little nervous’ with their new pet, but they quickly bonded
Couldn’t resist: The family named the dog Loki after Bridger left yellow post-it notes all over the house with his choice of moniker for their new pet
‘I truly respect and admire your courage and your heart. Real courage isn’t dominating people or fighting against people or walking around like a tough guy.
‘Real courage is knowing what is right to do and doing it even when it might end up hurting you somehow.’
Meanwhile, Chris Evans, who also stars in the franchise, sent Bridger a sweet video message and vowed to get him a Captain America shield.
The little boy’s aunt later shared photos of his stitches and scars in a follow-up post, insisting they were already ‘looking so much better.’
‘He’s in great spirits, and his awesome personality is intact,’ she wrote. ‘He can’t smile too widely yet, but he was grinning as I read some of your comments to him.’
She made it clear that they don’t blame the dog’s owners for what happened, saying they ‘are really great people who have been nothing but kind to Bridger and his family.’
‘We feel no resentment toward them at all, and — if anything — there’s only been an increase of love between our families as a result of this incident,’ she added.
The aunt said some people who saw the post had asked if there was a GoFundMe page for Bridger. Instead, she told them to donate to military veteran groups and send photos of rocks to Bridger because he loves geology.