Dawson Creek, B.C.
Community members continue to raise funds, help 2 Filipino mothers
By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez
Strengthened by the love of their families and community and the generousity of donors, the two Filipino mothers mauled by a bear are on their way to recovery.
After weeks of receiving treatment in separate hospitals, Leosette “Cheng” Canoy and Analyn Shurtliff Bartolome also finally met at the Dawson Creek Hospital after their harrowing October 3-experience together with Canoy’s niece, Wenilyn, and Bartolome’s son, Kelly.
Cheng and Analyn were critically injured when a male black bear attacked them while they were walking near the Bear Mountain Cross Country Ski Trails in the city of Dawson Creek, B.C.
Despite the tragic incident, the outpouring of support from people surrounding them and a detailed retelling of the actual events only show that nothing beats the indomitable human spirit.
The people of Dawson Creek and the Peace Country area raised funds for both victims through a benefit dinner, silent auction and dance last weekend.
More than 300 residents showed their support, over 170 items were donated for the silent auction, raising $7,500 in ticket sales and over $10,000 in cash donations.
The Kids Club of Dawson Creek sold hotdogs and hot chocolate and raised $3,400 for Cheng and Analyn.
Businesses like Flavours 8, George Dawson Inn, Bings Furniture & Appliances Ltd. also made the event a success aside from individual and group volunteers.
“The overwhelming love and support from family, friends and the community has simply brought us to our knees in gratitude. The financial help has made it possible to bring Mom and our nephew to Canada from the Philippines. This will be tremendously supportive for Cheng to have her Mom here,” Gary Hansen, Cheng’s husband, told Philippine Canadian News.
Cheng had about a six-hour surgery to repair the extensive injuries caused by the bear attack.
After approximately two weeks in a hospital in Edmonton, Cheng was flown back to Dawson Creek Hospital for a surgery to both her hands.
Rehabilitation and more treatments will continue thereafter.
What really happened
According to Hansen, he wants to share the details of the incident to show the heroism of each of the four people involved and how they looked after one another even when their lives were at risk.
While the group was walking together somewhere on the ski trails, they heard a crashing sound that sounded like an animal.
Kelly turned around only to see the big black bear charging towards them from behind.
He yelled “bear, run, run!” so they all started running. However, Analyn tripped and fell and the bear attacked her.
The bear bit Analyn’s head and dragged her into a bush. That’s when Cheng heard her friend saying “I love you, my children” in Tagalog. This prompted Cheng to run back to Analyn and poke the bear in the face with a stick.
Then the bear turned toward Cheng and bit her hand and shook her violently.
Wennali came to Cheng’s rescue and hit the bear with a stick and threw Cheng’s phone at the animal.
Kelly also picked up a stick and began hitting the bear until the stick shattered. He then punched the bear twice while his mom kicked the bear.
Cheng decided to throw herself on Analyn and wrap herself around her to fend off the bear’s attack.
Wennali tried to pull Cheng and Analyn away from the bear but the animal had Analyn by the arm and pulled them into a bush.
Cheng then motioned while Analyn yelled at both Wennali and Kelly to leave.
Both reluctantly left the area and called 911. They found a small cabin and went inside until the emergency responders arrived.
The bear stayed with Cheng and Analyn for an hour before one of the RCMP that arrived together with the rescue team shot it.
Earlier, Ellie Lamb, the director of community outreach for the Get Bear Smart Society, told the media that the bear’s reported behaviour indicated that it was treating them as food.
She said the officers were left with no option but to kill the bear.
For those who wish to donate to help Cheng may visit the link: HELP FOR CHENG, GARY & FAMILY AFTER BEAR ATTACKED, organized by Wennali Canoy.