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Alliance 10-year-old seeks donations after lip torn off by dog

The Repository logo The Repository 4/15/2021 Paige Bennett, The Repository
a close up of a person with the mouth open: Kayden Underwood and his lip wound from a dog bite. © (IndeOnline.com / Kevin Whitlock) Kayden Underwood and his lip wound from a dog bite.

ALLIANCE – Kayden Underwood isn't supposed to laugh. 

The 10-year-old, whose mother describes him as funny and outgoing, can't smile either without the risk of ripping a stitch. His family has tried not to say anything humorous around him since April 4 when a dog tore off his top lip. 

The fifth-grader at Northside Intermediate School was playing with a pit bull when it jumped up and grabbed his mouth. He was taken to Akron Children's Hospital for surgery. Kayden's aunt, Elizabeth Underwood, said doctors were able to reattach a piece of his lip his sister recovered but not the entire lip. 

Ten year old Kayden Underwood of Alliance talks about when he was bit by a dog recently. © (IndeOnline.com / Kevin Whitlock) Ten year old Kayden Underwood of Alliance talks about when he was bit by a dog recently.

"They had to sew a bandage on his lip," said Kayden's father, Jerry Underwood. "He had stitches through cotton swabs."  

Who owns the dog?

The dog belongs to family of Kayden's half-siblings.

Alliance police Lt. William Morris said the dog is quarantining for 10 days, standard procedure after a dog bites someone. He said the case was sent to the Stark County Prosecutor's Office for review.  

How is the child doing?

The days following the incident have been difficult for Kayden. His mother, Karissa Fullerton, said he cannot eat using utensils and has to chew slowly. 

"It's been OK," Kayden said. "My skin keeps tearing off, and it's hurting." 

Elizabeth Underwood said the incident has affected her nephew's confidence. She said he used to love filming TikTok videos, but he hasn't wanted to be in front of a camera. 

She also said being out of school has been hard for Kayden. 

"Now he is being taken away from his friends after this whole pandemic of not being able to be with your friends for quite a while," Elizabeth Underwood said. "Just being away from them has been a struggle for him already even though it's only been a couple of days." 

What's next for him?

Fullerton said Kayden will need other surgeries, including procedures to break down the scars and restructure his lip. She said he underwent a skin grafting operation that could require additional procedures depending on how his skin heals. 

Seeing Kayden's struggles, Elizabeth Underwood decided to help her nephew by launching a GoFundMe account that has so far raised $2,340.   

The fundraiser aims to collect donations to pay for Kayden's reconstructive surgeries and transportation to and from Akron Children's Hospital. Elizabeth Underwood hopes the surgeries will help Kayden get back to feeling confident in himself. 

Additionally, she would like for Kayden's family to be able to use some of the donations to do something to boost his spirits. 

"This poor baby has been through so much," Elizabeth Underwood said. 

a man wearing a neck tie: Kayden Underwood had more than 80 staples and nearly 20 stitches in his head after a car accident in 2017. © Elizabeth Underwood Kayden Underwood had more than 80 staples and nearly 20 stitches in his head after a car accident in 2017.

He survived a car crash in 2017

In October 2017, Kayden was in a serious car crash with his mother and brothers that left him with a traumatic brain injury. He split his head open and received 87 staples and nearly 20 stitches. He was in a coma for days and spent two months in the hospital recovering. At the time, Kayden was only 6 years old. 

Jerry Underwood said it's difficult to watch his son go through another traumatic experience; being in the hospital again brought back difficult memories for both of them. 

"He's 10 years old and has been through more than almost anybody I know," he said. 

Jerry Underwood said the injuries Kayden sustained following the car accident were so severe that even minor falls can cause serious harm. 

"He can still ride a skateboard, but if he falls, my day is different than everybody else's," he said. 

Despite the difficulties Kayden has experienced, Jerry Underwood said his son continues to have a positive outlook on life and find brightness in everything. He said Kayden cares about the needs of others and often puts them above his own.

He believes Kayden will overcome the obstacles he has faced and hopes he experiences fewer hardships in the future. 

"The next 10 years (of his life) will be way better than the first 10," he said. 

To donate to Kayden's GoFundMe, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-kayden-restore-and-rebuild-his-childhood

Reach Paige at 330-580-8577 or pmbennett@gannett.com

On Twitter: @paigembenn

Damage from the car accident Kayden Underwood was in in 2017. © Elizabeth Underwood Damage from the car accident Kayden Underwood was in in 2017.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Alliance 10-year-old seeks donations after lip torn off by dog

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