By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Anyone who takes a look at 8-year-old Dante Walker would hardly know that mere weeks ago the smiling, bubbly boy was in the hospital with his life hanging in the balance.
Dante, of Austintown, likes little league football, playing with his friends and bike riding. It was an accident while enjoying one of the bike rides that almost ended his life. But the quick thinking of a 16-year-old friend prevented that tragedy from happening.
In early August, Dante was staying at the Niles home of Kathleen Agler while his mother, Katherine Ferradino, was working. Dante and Kathleen Agler’s son, 16-year-old Anthony Agler, decided to go for a bike ride in the area of Summit Avenue.
The idea was nothing new. The two boys had gone for a similar ride only a few days earlier.
Dante said the ride started out normally, but he does not remember all of the details.
“I was going for a bike ride, and we were going down a hill really fast. I hit a pothole, flipped over the bike, and something on the bike caught me,” Dante said.
Flipping over the handle bars of the bike he was riding and standing up with a gash in his groin area are the last things Dante remembers about the ride.
“I was thinking it was a small cut, and I could just walk home. I stood up, but then I just passed out,” he said.
Anthony, riding a few feet ahead of Dante at the time of the accident, remembers much more.
“At first he stood up, and I started laughing, thinking he had just fell, but then I saw the blood and kind of freaked out,” he said. “My first thought was that I am going to get in trouble and be grounded or something, but then I thought I don’t want him to die, so I started applying pressure to the wound.”
Anthony always has fostered an interest in the medical field and learned basic first-aid measures doing research online for future career options.
The 16-year-old boy left Dante briefly to seek help at the nearest house, but no one came to the door. He says he then stood near the wounded child and attempted to wave at passing cars, but no one stopped, so he stepped into the street in front of an approaching car.
The driver of the car stopped and called for assistance but then left the two boys alone to wait for an ambulance.
Anthony continued to apply pressure to Dante’s wound, decreasing the amount of bleeding until emergency personnel arrived. He said he read that it is important to remain calm when offering assistance to someone in an emergency.
“What was keeping me calm was what I read that if you are panicking then the person you are trying to help is going to panic, and I didn’t want to do that,” he said.
Kathleen Agler and Katherine Ferradino both said they are amazed no one stopped to wait with and assist the two boys, but Ferradino said she is happy that Anthony had the state of mind to remain calm, seek help and stop Dante’s bleeding.
“That had to be stressful to be in that situation for him. ... I am just grateful he did what he did, giving my son the gift of time to get to the hospital,” said Katherine Ferradino.
When Dante arrived at the hospital, doctors informed his mother that he had torn three blood vessels in his groin. Ferradino said her son could have bled to death if not for the actions of Anthony decreasing the bleeding from the wound while waiting for help.
Kathleen Agler said she is happy and proud of her son for keeping his head together and offering assistance. She said the experience has made her look at emergency workers and the flashing lights of any passing ambulance differently — saying one never knows who is in need of help.
Kathleen Agler and Ferradino both say Anthony’s actions were heroic, but Anthony does not see it that way.
He said the experience has just made him closer friends with Dante and more of an older role model.