Nation cares about Marlene Bird

Tyler Clarke
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Recovering in a Saskatoon hospital, Marlene Darlene Bird, 47, has been surrounded by supporters in the weeks since she was violently assault in downtown Prince Albert on June 1.


Marlene Darlene Bird, 47. 

“She has a great support network built in right now -- a psychologist, a pastor, social worker and all of the regular support systems that you need in that kind of a situation,” her aunt, Lorna Thiessen said.

Thiessen was in Prince Albert on Wednesday to attend the latest court appearance of a man who faces charges in relation to Bird’s assault.

Click HERE for a story covering the latest happenings in court. 

She said that her niece remains upbeat and determined to get her life back on track.

War Amps has offered to provide Bird with prosthetic legs to help her remain mobile despite having both legs amputated as a result of the assault.

Someone else has offered to train a companion dog to help Bird after she’s out of the hospital.

A plethora of individuals and organizations across the nation have held fundraisers to help Bird after she gets out of the hospital.

Last weekend alone, Thiessen notes that a fundraiser in Nova Scotia raised $4,000, and an event in La Ronge raised $5,000.

A more personal touch has been made through the hundreds of letters Bird has received from well-wishers, primarily through the Prince Albert YWCA.

Bird has started reading the letters -- one of her first reactions to seeing them; “People care about me?”

“She just couldn’t believe it,” Thiessen said. “It was overwhelming for her.”

Looking forward, Bird faces physiotherapy, including work with prosthetics, after which the world is her oyster.

Where do you want to live?

What do you want to do?

What are you afraid of?

“She has all these options,” Thiessen said.

She has a great support network built in right now -- a psychologist, a pastor, social worker and all of the regular support systems that you need in that kind of a situation. Lorna Thiessen

It’s sad that it took a violent assault for all of these doors to open for Bird, Thiessen said.

Prior to June 1, Bird -- a residential school survivor -- lived the life of a transient alcoholic. Although family, church and social supports were in place to help her along, they didn’t prove adequate to allow her to pull herself back up.

“Why can’t the rest of society, why can’t the rest of us, be a support system to at least that one person around us?” Thiessen asked. “That’ll make the world of difference.”


National media attention

The impact of Bird’s story has been felt across the nation -- a story Thiessen maintains is an important one for people to hear.

“The public needs to know how dangerous people are so there can be some active approaches to what needs to be fixed in society,” she explained.

In the days after Bird’s assault, police asked those close to Bird to not let the public know how serious the situation was, out of fear of frightening the community, Thiessen said.

“Are you kidding? Now I’m really going to open my mouth,” she said.

“I don’t back down and I don’t mince words.”

From her morning interview at the Daily Herald office, Thiessen was scheduled to head back to Saskatoon where she and Bird were scheduled to meet with the National Post.

An author in British Columbia has been in contact with Bird’s family and has expressed interest in writing a book about her, Thiessen said.

“My little phone’s just smoking right now.”

Organizations: Daily Herald, National Post

Geographic location: Prince Albert YWCA, Nova Scotia, La Ronge Saskatoon British Columbia

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