In the summer of 2003, carefree 25-year-old Dan Bigley was mauled by a brown bear during a fishing trip on the Russian River and left for dead. The attack left Dan blinded and his chances for recovery minimal. With the odds against him, Dan survived and many surgeries later and countless hours of rehabilitation, he has been able to pick up the pieces from his former life. With the help and efforts of UAA’s Disability and Support Services, Dan earned his M.S.W. in 2009 graduating with a 4.0 and in 2012 was honored as a UAA Alumni of Distinction.
Dan has come a long way in the recovery process from his initial experience and collaborated with veteran Alaska reporter Debra McKinney to write “Beyond the Bear: How I Learned to Live and Love After Being Blinded by a Bear,” published last month by Lyons Press. Dan and Debra will be at the UAA Campus Bookstore Monday, April 22, from 5–7 p.m. for a reading. Find more coverage of Dan’s story in the Alaska Dispatch, the Anchorage Daily News and his radio interview on KSKA’s Hometown Alaska.