Author of bear attack book dies
A Calgary woman who wrote a book about being attacked by a grizzly bear has died in Kelowna, B.C.
Patricia Anne Van Tighem, 47, took her own life. Her family says it was the long lasting effects of the attack 22-years ago that led to her death.
In 1983, she and her husband were hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park when they came upon a female grizzly and her cubs. Both Patricia and her husband were badly mauled.
Patricia's facial disfigurements and reconstructive surgery were the focus of her best-selling book "In the Bear's Embrace."
During an interview with CBC Radio in October 2000, she talked about the trauma of the attack and how the injuries affected her life.
"When I was out in public after the attack, especially after the first couple of years – before a lot of the reconstruction – I often met with people who couldn't look at me or raised their voice or treated me like I was mentally handicapped," she said. "It was quite a challenge to assert myself over and over again to get that respect that used to be a given."
Van Tighem later went on to establish a branch of "AboutFace," which supports people with facial disfigurements.
She is survived by four children, her mother and numerous brothers and sisters. Funeral services will be held in Calgary on Thursday.