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Beyond the Bear

Published: 2013-04-08
Author: Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney

Synopsis: Beyond the Bear is the story of a couples unforgettable courage, tenacious will, and the power of love to lead the way out of darkness.

Main Digest

How I Learned to Live and Love Again after Being Blinded by a Bear
By Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney.


Twenty-five-year-old outdoor enthusiast and avid fisherman Dan Bigley woke up on the morning of July 14, 2003, as happy as he'd been in a long time. He had a great job taking troubled kids on outdoor adventures, and he had recently purchased a cabin high in Alaska's Chugach Mountains. After a year of admiring a woman named Amber, they had just spent their first night together. He and his buddy had planned a day of fishing on the Kenai and Russian rivers, so he kissed Amber goodbye and told her he'd call her when he got home.

It would be weeks before they next spoke, and he would never see her face again.

On his way back to the parking lot after a long day of fishing, Dan was horrified to see a grizzly bear come tearing around a corner in the trail. In an instant the bear was on top of him, crushing his skull, blinding him and nearly taking his life in a gruesome attack that made national headlines.

In that crucial moment, Dan made a decision to live - and he never looked back. Enduring years of painful rehab and faced with the challenge of learning to do everything again, from matching his socks to making a living, Dan refused to succumb to self pity or helplessness. But facing paralyzing pain and inconceivable loss, he was in no shape to be in a relationship. He and Amber let each other go. Five surgeries later, partway into his long healing journey, they found their way back to each other.

Beyond the Bear Book Cover
Beyond the Bear Book Cover

Beyond the Bear is one couple's unforgettable story of courage, tenacious will, and the power of love to lead the way out of darkness. Dan Bigley's triumph over tragedy is a testament to the ability of the human spirit to overcome physical and emotional devastation, to choose not just to live, but to live fully.

About the authors:

Dan Bigley is the Director of Therapeutic Foster Care Services at Denali Family Services in Anchorage, having earned his MSW after being blinded by the bear. He lives with his wife and two young children in Anchorage, Alaska.

Debra McKinney was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the Anchorage Daily News. She and her husband live in Palmer, Alaska.

BEYOND THE BEAR: How I Learned to Live and Love Again after Being Blinded by a Bear by Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney.

ISBN 978-0-7627-8455-4
$22.95 Hardcover 224 6 x 9 April 2013

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Cite This Page (APA): Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney. (2013, April 8). Beyond the Bear. Disabled World. Retrieved January 27, 2022 from