All the students at St. Matthew Catholic School have written cards to Jakob Clark, the 6-year-old mauled badly by a pit bull in Mint Hill three days before Christmas.
Jakob, who lives in Waxhaw and attends kindergarten at St. Matthew, remains at Levine Children’s Hospital in Uptown Charlotte. The youngster suffered a blood clot in his left arm, nerve damage to his right arm and right leg and has needed skin grafts. Doctors had to reattach his right eyelid but he doesn’t appear to have lost any sight, Thomas Clark, Jakob’s father, said. On Tuesday, Jan. 11, Jakob endured his 10th surgery since the attack and will need more operations, including one to reconstruct the tear duct in his right eye, Thomas Clark said.
Though Santa’s presents are still waiting on him at home, Jakob knows a lot of people, including many in his school and church family, are praying for him.
“The tremendous show of support from our family, St. Matthew (Catholic) Church, St. Matthew school, friends, neighbors, and people we have never met has truly been incredible,” Jakob’s father wrote in an e-mail. “Their prayers have showered blessings on my family and have continued to help us get through this difficult time.
“We have had meals delivered and planned throughout the month of January. The kids at St. Matthew have said prayers, sent cards and all sorts of projects wishing Jakob their prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Jakob loves hearing from the kids.
“One neighbor coordinated a web cam visit with the other kids in the neighborhood. That was a big hit with Jakob.”
Kevin O’Herron, principal of St. Matthew, said students and the staff of the school are now planning a “dress down” fundraiser to help Jakob’s family cover some of the expenses of staying at the hospital since the dog attack. The students normally wear uniforms to school, but they’ll be able to pay $1 on that day to wear casual clothes, O’Herron said.
“In general, we have some phenomenal families here who have taken it upon themselves to provide meals for the Clark family,” O’Herron said.
The dog also hurt Jakob’s grandmother, Muriel Price, 71, when she ran next door to see Jakob, and she’s recovering at a rehabilitation facility.
Jakob, whose family lives in Waxhaw, was visiting his grandparents Dec. 22 in Mint Hill when the attack occurred. Jakob was walking next door to his aunt and uncle’s house at 4514 Matthews-Mint Hill Road when Blue, his cousin’s male pit bull, attacked.
Jakob’s mother, Donna, was inside the house and heard Jakob scream. When she looked outside, he was on the sidewalk as Blue attacked him, Thomas Clark said.
When Price ran next door soon after, Blue bit her just below the left elbow and broke her arm, Don Price, her husband and Jakob’s grandfather, said. His wife also broke a toe on her left foot running to Jakob.
Blue, who had been at the house for a few months, had never been aggressive before, family members said.
Authorities took Blue to Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Animal Care & Control and the dog was euthanized the day of the attack. He tested negative for rabies, Animal Care & Control spokeswoman Melissa Knicely said.
The family has set up a website for Jakob where well-wishers can leave messages and get updates on his progress, www.caringbridge.org/visit/jakobclark.
The response has overwhelmed the family.
“We have had people from Hong Kong, my relatives from Germany and people all over the country contact us with their kind words, prayers and support,” Thomas Clark said. “I know we will never be able to show or tell them just how grateful we are.
“We are also so thankful for the Levine Children’s Hospital and their outstanding and excellent skilled staff. We had no idea that this facility existed and are extremely thankful for Mr. Levine’s vision. We are extremely indebted to them for saving our little boy.
“To sum this up, we are so thankful to everyone. We never in our wildest dreams could have imagined of being in this situation. We feel so very fortunate to be surrounded by all of the loving people who have shown so much compassion to my family.”
Want to help?
The Clark family has set up a post office box to collect donations to pay for Jakob’s medical bills. To donate, send a check, payable to Jakob Clark, to P.O. Box 78546, Charlotte, NC, 28271-7036.
The family also has set up a website for Jakob where well-wishers can leave messages and get updates on his progress, www.caringbridge.org/visit/jakobclark.