There is one more day left in the fundraising campaign to assist Erin Greene, the 30-year-old woman who was attacked by a polar bear in Churchill on Nov. 1, 2013 and then hit with a $13,159 bill for her air- and ground-ambulance transportation.
A crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo.com, started by her friends, ends at midnight on Tuesday. It has raised $8,410 towards the goal of $12,500.
Greene, who is from Montreal but was a seasonal employee at a Churchill restaurant, was walking home with friends from a Halloween party when the bear approached the group and attacked her.
Her injuries were extensive. The bear’s teeth and claws punctured her shoulder and the front of her arm, while her scalp was sliced open and needed to be stitched and stapled. She had blood transfusions, plastic surgery on her ear, stitches on her knee and ear and bruising all over her body.
The bear’s attack on Greene ended when 69-year-old Bill Ayotte ran out of his nearby house and hit the bear with a shovel. Greene was able to run inside his house and call for help.
The bear began attacking Ayotte when Ayotte’s neighbour, Didier Foubert-Allen, 18, saved him by shooting at the bear and, clad in only underwear, drove his truck toward the bear blasting the horn and flashing the lights until it ran off.
Other area residents also tried to get the bear to run off. Ayotte was also hospitalized and is still recovering.
"I count my blessings every day, and I am thankful for Bill every day," Greene said. "I definitely think about it every day. If my mind forgets, my body reminds me."
She has been unable to work since the attack, but must repay the ambulance transportation costs because she is a Quebec resident and did not have additional insurance to cover costs outside of her care in hospital.
Quebec’s provincial health plan is covering Greene’s physician-care costs she received in the Winnipeg and Churchill hospitals, but she’s on the hook for the rest of it, as would anyone travelling out-of-province unless additional insurance coverage was purchased.
Two bears near the town were later shot by authorities. One of those bears had a cub which was later transported to the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s International Polar Bear Conservation Centre and has been named Kaska.
To assist Greene, click here.