Published on June 10, 2014
Marlene Darlene Bird, 47, is seen in this photo that was handed out for Friday‚Äôs march through downtown Prince Albert.
Herald file photo
Published on June 10, 2014
A crowd is seen marching through downtown Prince Albert on Friday in support of Marlene Darlene Bird, 47, who was violently assaulted on June 1.
Herald file photo
More than a week after her violent assault in downtown Prince Albert, Marlene Darlene Bird, 47, remains in hospital.
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs not talking, but ‚Ä¶ the surgeon said that she is conscious that we‚Äôre in the room,‚ÄĚ her aunt Lorna Thiessen said on Tuesday.
Click HERE for a June 12 update to this story, including more information about Marlene Bird's life.
Bird is in recovery at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton where she‚Äôs undergone numerous surgeries as a result of a June 1 assault.
‚ÄúIt wasn‚Äôt just a little beating,‚ÄĚ Thiessen clarified. ‚ÄúHer life was at stake.‚ÄĚ
Emergency personnel found Bird at about 10:20 a.m. on June 1 outside of the Margo Fournier Centre.
While Bird recovers in Edmonton with a small group of family at her bedside, another group of supporters is growing in Prince Albert, spurred in part by the Prince Albert YWCA.
‚ÄúMarlene Bird is a mother, a daughter, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and a part of our YWCA Prince Albert family,‚ÄĚ Prince Albert YWCA executive director Donna Brooks said, noting that staff know her well and that she‚Äôs ‚Äúeasy to get along with -- basically harmless.‚ÄĚ
She needs to know that she is supported, Brooks said, noting that it‚Äôs been appalling to the limited reach of Bird‚Äôs story beyond local media.
‚ÄúIf this attack would have happened to a middle class woman in a suburban Toronto neighbourhood, I guarantee you it would have been on the national news -- I guarantee you that,‚ÄĚ she said.
‚ÄúBut, because it happened in Prince Albert, it happened to an aboriginal woman who is a part of the homeless community -- because of all those factors I don‚Äôt think it received the media attention it should.‚ÄĚ
YWCA staff is collecting letters of support and financial donations for Bird and her family, which they will mail out to Edmonton every week during her recovery.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs very important to show her that she matters -- that what has happened to her has saddened a lot of people in our community and that she is important and there are a lot of people who care about her,‚ÄĚ Brooks said.
The local YWCA executive director also helped bring Bird‚Äôs story to the World YWCA, which issued their own words of support.
‚ÄúThe YWCA movement, in 125 countries and 22,000 communities around this world, stands in solidarity with Marlene Bird and joins her family‚Äôs call for justice,‚ÄĚ World YWCA general secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda said in a release.
The Edmonton YWCA has also stepped up to the plate by helping Bird‚Äôs family during their stay in the Alberta city.
When it comes to the attack itself, Thiessen maintains that she‚Äôs confident someone out there knows who attacked her niece.
‚ÄúP.A.‚Äôs a small community, everyone knows everybody on the street level,‚ÄĚ she said.
It‚Äôs very important to show her that she matters -- that what has happened to her has saddened a lot of people in our community and that she is important and there are a lot of people who care about her. Donna Brooks
‚ÄúPeople know who it is but they‚Äôre not wanting to tell because they‚Äôre scared, and that‚Äôs how it works on the street.
‚ÄúOne of the things they should know is people can call (Crime Stoppers) ‚Ä¶ and their name is not going to be given out, you‚Äôre not going to be traced in any way or form, and they need to know that.‚ÄĚ
In addition to urging people to help local police find the perpetrator(s), Brooks issues a word of caution to the public.
‚ÄúGo out in pairs or don‚Äôt go to areas where there‚Äôs nobody else around, because we don‚Äôt know the details,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really important that people watch out for their own safety.‚ÄĚ
The Prince Albert YWCA is also reiterating their stance on violence -- that ‚ÄúViolence in any form, it‚Äôs not acceptable.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe need to put an end to it in our society, and I know it‚Äôs kind of an elusive thing, but everyone can do a little piece,‚ÄĚ Brooks said.
Attend events such as last week‚Äôs march against violence and in support of Marlene Bird, she encouraged. Lobby politicians to increase penalties for those who perpetuate violence. Donate to local shelters.
One means of support with an immediate effect would be sending a letter of encouragement to Bird while she recovers in Edmonton.
Currently, Thiessen said that Bird‚Äôs group of bedside supporters are limiting what Bird hears out of fear of overwhelming her.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre just letting her know that she‚Äôs in an Edmonton hospital and she‚Äôs going to be fine and her family‚Äôs with her -- that‚Äôs all we‚Äôre allowed to tell her,‚ÄĚ she explained.
However, as she becomes able to take on more information it would be nice if it were full of positivity and support, Brooks said.
Those interested in sending regards to Marlene Darlene Bird during her recovery are encouraged to drop letters off at either the YWCA Our House Shelter at 94 15th St. E. or the Central Avenue location at 1894 Central Ave.
UPDATE: The Prince Albert YWCA has already mailed its first shipment of letters to Marlene Bird and plans on doing so every week that she remains in hospital.
Financial donations will go toward Bird‚Äôs support team who are remaining at her bedside in Edmonton.
On June 6, more than 100 supporters showed up for a march through downtown Prince Albert in Bird‚Äôs honour and against violence.
The march culminated in a prayer where Bird was found a few days previous.
Tips can be made anonymously by phoning Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Click HERE for a video of Friday‚Äôs march.