Bear attack victims seek community support
The rash of bear attacks in Alaska this season has left a string of injured victims, devastated families and medical expenses.
In response, some of the families affected have set up fundraising pages to help shoulder some of the financial burdens and set up memorials for their lost loved ones.
Jack “Patrick” Cooper, 16, died in a bear attack after competing in a race on Bird Ridge. Several days after his death, wildlife officials reported they’d killed the bear believed to be responsible in the mauling.
The family established a memorial fund in Patrick’s honor with a goal of establishing a memorial bench at Bird Ridge. The GoFundMe has already exceeded its $5000 goal and all extra funds will be donated to charities of the Cooper family’s choice.
In a statement from the family on the memorial page, they expressed gratitude for the Alaskans in the community who have shown love and support in light of unimaginable tragedy.
Erin Johnson was killed by a bear at Pogo Mine a day after Patrick Cooper was killed. Johnson, a newlywed from Anchorage, worked as a research biologist, a contract employee for Pogo Mine.
Her memorial fund describes her as “a beautiful, compassionate, and passionate person– who lived her brief 27 years to the fullest,” who had a particular love of science and the outdoors.
Donations will aid in funding science education and outdoor youth activity programs to help inspire others to continue Johnson’s life work in her memory.