Wednesday, December 11, 2013
A young Colorado composer and violinist who impressed the Brunswick arts community with her talent during the 2011 Bowdoin International Music Festival is expected to make a full recovery from the head wound she suffered in last week's shooting rampage at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
A festival spokesperson said proceeds from Tuesday night's "Artists of Tomorrow" concert in Brunswick will benefit Petra Anderson, 22, who is from Aurora, Colo.
"The thing that is astonishing to all of us is that (a fragment from a bullet) went into her brain," said Peter Simmons, executive director of the International Music Festival, which was established in 1964 on the Bowdoin campus. Musicians from 27 countries and five continents are represented at this year's festival.
Simmons said Anderson had been invited to participate in the 2012 festival but declined the offer in March after learning that her mother's breast cancer had become terminal.
Anderson's remarkable recovery from the wounds she suffered in the rampage has not only attracted attention in Maine but from media outlets across the nation.
ABC News reported Tuesday that Anderson's arm was riddled by three pieces of buckshot from a shotgun blast. Another piece hit her face, passing through her nose and into her brain. The piece stopped just short of the back of her head.
ABC reported that doctors feared the worst: paralysis or speech impairment. But after undergoing multiple surgeries on Friday, doctors said they expect her to make a full recovery.
Chloe Anderson, Anderson's sister, told ABC News that a fluid-filled void in her sister's brain -- she has had it since birth -- provided a pathway that guided the fragment away from critical areas.
"If (the shot) had deviated, it could have hit major, major things," Anderson told the network.
After the tragedy, Anderson's family went on the offensive, posting a heartfelt message on YouTube asking for the public's help with her medical bills as well as those incurred by her mother.
"Our family has been shaken by the events of last Friday, but we have not been broken," Chloe Anderson said. "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 Andersons hope to raise $250,000 to cover Anderson's medical bills as well as expenses associated with her mother's cancer treatment. As of Tuesday night, they had received more than $143,000 in donations.
Sheila Clark, who serves as a resident assistant for the Brunswick festival, became close friends with Anderson last summer. Clark also sang in the piece that Anderson composed and Simmons said was striking for its originality: "Say A Woman's Name."
"She was one of the most wonderful people I've met in a long time," said Clark. "Out of all the people in the world who could have been in that theater, you can't believe that something like this could happen to a person so close to you."
On the music festival's Facebook page is a link to a blog written by her pastor, Brad Strait. It is titled "A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim's Story."
Strait said that since he created the website on Sunday it has gone viral, averaging 71,000 hits per hour.
Strait said Anderson went to the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" with two friends, who are biking across the United States. He spent all day Friday at the hospital where Anderson underwent surgery.
Anderson woke up for a few moments after undergoing surgery. After sucking on an ice cube, she fell asleep.
"She lies down, back to sleep, a living miracle who doesn't even know it yet. Good, flowering out of the refuse pile of a truly dark night," Strait wrote. "There is much more ahead. More surgeries. Facial reconstruction, perhaps. And for Kim (her mother) chemotherapy to stretch every moment out of life. But life remains. The ending is yet to be written for this family."
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: