By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – When a grizzly bear attacked a local mountain biker on Memorial Day, a group of Big Sky residents sprung into action to help the Scherfig family cope with soaring medical expenses.
Peter Scherfig was mauled by a grizzly bear in a surprise encounter while mountain biking on the Fish Camp Trail in the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club community west of Big Sky. He was rushed to Billings Clinic trauma center via life flight helicopter and as of Monday night remained in stable but critical condition, suffering lacerations and puncture wounds to the face and back.
The first grizzly attack in 23 years in Big Sky, the story sent shockwaves through the community and beyond, with outlets as far as the coasts picking up the story. But the damage is far from over.
As with many accidents, Scherfig and his family are suffering beyond the physical and emotional damage inflicted on May 25. Aside from the initial bill associated with the helicopter ride and emergency medical services, Scherfig will also undergo facial reconstructive surgery at a to-be-determined date and facility, among other ongoing medical needs.
Through an effort spearheaded by close friends Marjorie Knaub, Debbie Applebaum, Lisa Knorr and Patty Dickerson, the community has rallied behind the Scherfigs and started two funds to help support them through the complex and expensive medical journey ahead.
“I know Peter and Katie [Scherfig] have a high deductible, and I don’t know the costs of the life flight to get to Billings but it’ll be expensive,” said Knaub, adding that the cost of having to fly elsewhere for surgery will also increase medical expenses.
Working as a CPA, Knaub quickly gathered the tax information necessary to start the Peter Scherfig Benefit Fund at Big Sky’s First Security Bank branch.
“People hoping to donate can go to any First Security Bank in Big Sky or Bozeman and say they want to donate to the fund,” Knaub said, noting the fund was officially formed on May 26.
In addition to the fund at First Security Bank, Applebaum set up a GoFundMe campaign with the same goal in mind. Between the two initiatives, friends and family hope to raise $30,000 to begin to cover the Scherfigs’ expenses.
As of press time on May 27, the GoFundMe campaign had met more than $4,000 of it’s goal, a number that will no doubt rise in the coming hours, days and weeks as Big Sky supports one of its own.
Visit gofundme.com/f/bear-mauling-in-big-sky to make a donation via GoFundMe.