Petra Andersonby Elisa Hawkes
Coastal Journal staff
BRUNSWICK — Petra Anderson, 22, of Aurora, Colo., was one of many people wounded in July 20 shooting rampage at a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” Warner Bros.’ new Batman movie. A talented composer and violinist who performed at Bowdoin College last year, Anderson is expected to fully recover from her wounds.
Anderson performed as part of the 2011 Bowdoin International Music Festival. She declined the offer to once again perform at the festival in 2012 due to her mother’s illness. After news of Anderson’s injury reached Brunswick, it was decided that proceeds from the July 24 “Artists of Tomorrow” concert would be donated to help Anderson cover her medical costs. The concert was especially appropriate, as the four pieces on Tuesday’s program were composed by students, one of whom had worked with Anderson the previous year.
According to Festival Executive Director Peter Simmons, over $1,000 was collected for the Anderson family.
Simmons said it was feared at first that Anderson’s head wound would cause paralysis or speech impairment, but following multiple surgeries last Friday, she is expected to make a complete recovery. There is still a long way to go, however, with more surgeries in the future, including the possibility of reconstructive surgery, and rehabilitation.
“I am told the injuries were terribly severe, and miraculously not [severe]. She had four pellets in her arm and one in her nose that went to the back of her skull. Yet it missed all the important parts of her brain. She was talking after her surgery,” Simmons said.
After the tragedy, Anderson’s family posted a plea on YouTube asking for help with her medical bills. They also asked for help with bills incurred by her mother, who is suffering from terminal breast cancer, and other victims of the shooting. The first $100,000 raised goes to Petra’s surgery, medical, and recovery costs.
On a website devoted to this cause, it was stated, “The next $150k will be divided evenly between her mother’s year-long cancer treatment (about $150k) and the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA), a nonprofit tasked by the Aurora Police Department to gather and distribute aid in response to the Aurora shooting. If we exceed our goal and after Kim’s treatment needs are met, all additional money will go to COVA.”
The Andersons goal is to raise $250,000 to cover Anderson’s medical bills and her mother’s cancer treatment. They had received over $235,000 by Monday, July 30.
When asked why the festival decided to have a fundraiser for Anderson, Simmons said, “It [the International Music Festival] is like a family. It is six intense weeks. Relationships are made that last a lifetime.”
He said not only is Anderson an engaging person, she served as resident assistant in one of the residence halls.
“Many people remember her fondly and they remember her work. She is very talented,” Simmons said. “It is important to do this for her.”
Simmons said when Anderson canceled her acceptance to the 2012 program in March due to her mother’s health, he felt badly about it. He said her primary area of study is composition, and that she is a gifted composer. The program would help so talented a person in any way it could, he added.
According to Simmons, he feels it is important to the other members of the festival to raise money for Anderson.
“We have known and stayed in touch with Petra. We are part of the same community. These people have worked very hard at their craft and are a close group. I want them to feel we are supportive of the musical community; to know it is important that we support others. They need to know they will be supported.”
Chloe Anderson, Petra’s sister, said, “Our family has been shaken by the events of last Friday, but we have not been broken. Thank you for standing with us and letting this joker know that he may have intended this as his story, but we are taking it back.”
The Bowdoin Festival family is helping the Anderson’s to heal. They are, as Chloe said, taking the story back.
For more information about Petra Anderson, visit www.indiegogo.com/readytobelieve, and to make a contribution, visit www.indiegogo.com/readytobelieve?a=837162.