Support pours in from around the world for dog-mauled boy

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:54 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As Justin Gilstrap undergoes his sixth surgery after being mauled by dogs earlier this month, several local businesses are coming together in support of the Columbia County 11-year-old.

And Justin’s not just receiving local support: His mom says he’s getting packages from England, Australia, and every state in the United States.

“He’s seeing there’s still good in people and he is seeing that. It’s gotten him off of the bad part of this and seeing the good part of it. Which is what I hoped for,” said his mom, Erika Stevens.

In Columbia County, businesses are coming together today at Sol Himalayan Salt Cave to donate 100% of the proceeds to Justin. Those small businesses include Sol, Salty Beaver Bath, and Body Products, Sugar and Spice Cocktail Mixers, Herbal Soap Co., and Expecting for Less Maternity. Kind Souls Designs is also selling #JustinTough T-shirts to benefit Justin.

The event went on until 7 p.m.

The owners of Sol Himalayan Salt Cave say people are coming in to just donate to the cause.

“The foot traffic has been really great. People are coming in just to buy t-shirts, to buy merchandise, and just to drop off a donation,” said Michelle Finn.

They are rallying people together for #JustinTough.

Kasie Slater is the owner of Kind Souls Designs. She said, “We live in a very quiet area. Sirens started going off, and there’s a lot of commotion, and it’s not usual for our area.”

Soon after finding out what happened, she used her business to make the shirts, which are a special green for Justin.

SEE HOW BUSINESSES ARE SUPPORTING JUSTIN:

“A lot of the headwear and hospital stuff that was coming through was a very distinctive green that she was kind of looking for something to match,” she said.

The simple design has been flying off the shelves at Sol.

Justin’s story has inspired many people, including Dexter Carter, who didn’t know about Justin until he went in for a massage.

“They come into here today really to get some relief, you know, through massage therapy and then finding out that you know there was a greater cause,” he said.

Hearing the story made Carter see how tough Justin is.

“I’m thankful to hear that he’s alive, these contributions will help with the rest,” he said.

The business owners are unsure of the exact total but they’re expecting over $2,100 to come out of this day.

SEE HOW BUSINESSES ARE SUPPORTING JUSTIN:

As Justin Gilstrap undergoes his sixth surgery after being mauled by dogs earlier this month, several local businesses are coming together in support of him.

Meanwhile, we learned Wednesday that authorities euthanized the dogs that attacked Justin on Jan. 6 on Langston Drive outside Grovetown as he was riding his bike.

The three dogs were put to sleep, as were four puppies turned over by the owner.

Stevens says she has been by Justin’s side since the beginning and hasn’t left the Children’s Hospital of Georgia since the attack. She’s trying to stay positive through the surgeries with a long road ahead.

“I’m just mentally and physically exhausted. I don’t sleep. I’m worried about him,” she said.

She says Justin is starting to remember more of the day his life changed forever.

EARLIER COVERAGE:

“He told me that he remembers just kicking, kicking as hard as he could. He said he does remember the one dog pulling him into the ditch and he was worried he was going to drown because his head was surrounded by water. He said he remember they were on him and he kept sinking. He said he was more worried about that and just kicking, kicking, and swinging his arms,” she said.

A week and a half after the attack, he was finally able to walk.

Justin Gilstrap
Justin Gilstrap(Contributed)

“He was very excited, so it made me excited. Every time, they brag on him a little bit like, ‘Oh, Justin, you’re doing so good.’ They’d reach over to help him, and he’d say, ‘I can do it. I’m tough,’” said Stevens.

Since the dogs tore off Justin’s scalp, he’s looking at being bald for the rest of his life.

“He likes all these Georgia hats and beanies coming to him,” Stevens said. “That’s put a positive spin on him crying about not being able to have hair again.”

His mom says he’s wanting to be better by football season so he can go to a University of Georgia game.