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Fundraiser set for bear attack survivor

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Erin Greene was attacked Nov. 1 in Churchill by a polar bear. She survived this horrific attack and has scars to show for it. Her friends are holding a fundraising event for her Thursday night at the Pyramid to help her pay medical costs. Greene is a Quebec resident and must pay $10,000 for the air ambulance trip to Winnipeg from churchill.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Erin Greene was attacked Nov. 1 in Churchill by a polar bear. She survived this horrific attack and has scars to show for it. Her friends are holding a fundraising event for her Thursday night at the Pyramid to help her pay medical costs. Greene is a Quebec resident and must pay $10,000 for the air ambulance trip to Winnipeg from churchill. Photo Store

Winnipeggers are gathering tonight to raise money for a Montreal woman who was attacked by a polar bear.

Erin Greene, 30,  was airlifted to Winnipeg from Churchill Nov. 1 after she was attacked by the bear while walking home with friends from a Halloween party. She had serious wounds to the back of her head, ear, arms and body.

The fundraiser, called The Churchill Connection because it features bands who have performed in Churchill, kicks off 9 p.m. tonight at the Pyramid Cabaret. It will help Greene pay for the cost of the air ambulance ride from Churchill, which will cost more than $10,000, and three ground ambulance rides.

"I’m just so grateful people are doing this for me."

-Erin Greene

She hasn’t received all the bills yet.

"I think it’s pretty miraculous that I am still here," said Greene, who has one bill of $633 for just the ambulance ride from Winnipeg’s airport to the Health Sciences Centre.

"I’m just so grateful people are doing this for me. I have my life, my friends and family and to not have to worry about all the medical expenses, I was really stressed out about it, so it’s a great relief," said Greene, a seasonal employee at a restaurant in Churchill.

A spokeswoman from Manitoba Health confirmed Greene, who is a Quebec resident, must pay for all transportation costs but a reciprocal agreement between Manitoba and Quebec will cover her hospital stay and care. She can submit any out-of-hospital bills to Quebec for reimbursement.

The bear’s teeth punctured her shoulder, the front of her arm, her head was stitched and stapled, she had blood transfusions, plastic surgery on her ear, stitches on her knee and ear and bruising all over her body.

Greene said she feels "incredibly lucky" she lived through the harrowing ordeal which only ended when 69-year-old Bill Ayotte ran out of his house and bashed the bear with a shovel.

The bear turned on Ayotte instead, sparing Greene's life. Then Ayotte’s neighbour, Didier Foubert-Allen, 18, saved Ayotte 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 recovering.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 6:19 PM CST: Adds Greene is a resident of Quebec.

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