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Event to Aid Lion-Attack Victims

By a Times Staff Writer

Outdoor enthusiasts will hold a festival Saturday to raise awareness about the benefits and risks of Orange County’s wilderness and to raise funds for charities named in honor of the two victims of the Jan. 8 mountain lion attacks.

The Great Outdoors Awareness Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Irvine Regional Park in Orange and feature mountain bike rides and hikes, with outdoor safety demonstrations.

The event will begin with a ride in honor of Mark Reynolds. The 35-year-old Foothill Ranch man, an avid road and mountain cyclist, was killed by a mountain lion in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Parkin Lake Forest.

Another cyclist, Anne Hjelle, was later attacked by the same animal. The 30-year-old former Marine and fitness trainer is recovering from wounds to her face and neck.

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The Trail Angels, a mountain bike club based at Saddleback Community Church, organized the event and recruited 24 other sponsors.

A minimum donation of $5 is recommended. Proceeds will go to the Anne Hjelle Foundation, which will help pay her medical expenses, the Mark Reynolds Memorial Bikes for Needy Children Fund and SHARE Mountain Bike Club.

Jacke Van Woerkom, founder of the Trail Angels, said Hjelle continues to make a steady recovery and is “blown away” by the support she has been getting.

Van Woerkom said that contrary to what club officials expected, membership in the Trail Angels has soared since the attacks, with more riders joining in the past few weeks than in the five years since it was formed in 1999.

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