If Lucas Halstead's dream comes true someone, one day, is going to pay him a lot of money doing what he loves to do, something he is already very good at doing: playing baseball.
Home Run Hero Raises Money For Boy Mauled By Dogs
When Lucas Halstead learned the home run derby he was invited to participate in was for charity, he knew immediately who he wanted to help. (Published Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014)
Updated at 6:35 AM PDT on Friday, Jan 24, 2014
It is not just his talent, though, that makes Lucas a standout at Danville's Monte Vista High School; it's that he is willing to give back long before he ever gets.
In Lucas' case, giving something to Hunter Kilbourn.
In August, 10-year-old Hunter was attacked by two neighbor's pit bulls while playing video games at a friend's house. He suffered severe bite marks to his face, his scalp, and his arms. Hunter has already been through a number of surgeries to begin to repair the damage, but there are still many more to come.
Considering all that happened to him, it was remarkable that Hunter was ready to go back to school for the start of the fourth grade. That his teacher turned out to be Kelly Halstead, Lucas' mother, turned out to be a lucky break.
Lucas and his family had heard the news about the attack on Hunter earlier in the year and when they learned he would be one of his mother's students, Lucas was eager to learn more about the boy. "What happened to him was unthinkable," Lucas says, "and he's in there going to school. I just doesn't seem like anything is going to faze him."
Hunter, it turned out, was eager to learn more about Lucas, who his mother often talked about in class. The two met, and a bond was formed. "He's tall," Hunter says of Lucas, "a big guy. And nice too."
Nice, however, might be an understatement.
When Lucas learned he was being invited to the Power Showcase, a camp for elite baseball prospects in Florida, he also learned a home run competition he would be participating in would be for charity. While many of the other players chose large charitable organizations as their beneficiaries, ones that helped thousands of kids, Lucas wanted to help just one: Hunter.
"I get emotional about it all the time when I think about it," Melody Ralls, Hunter's mother, says. "When he wanted to do that for him, it was huge."
Lucas pushed through nerves, and a sore back, and came through for Hunter. The home run competition was held inside Marlins Park, home the National League's Florida Marnins. The high-school senior went on to hit three home runs out of the major league ballpark. He has so far turned that into two thousand dollars for Hunter's continuing medical expenses, with more to come.
Lucas says he has also gained something for himself: a new perspective on life and baseball. "I can promise you I will never playing baseball for granted," Lucas says. "I'll never play a game like it wasn't the last because it call all change like that."