Friend starts online campaign to help letter-bomb victim with medical bills

YouCaring page

A close friend of the Philadelphia man who was seriously injured by a letter bomb last week has begun an online campaign to raise money to help defray his medical expenses.

Talbot Smith opened a crowdfunding page on the YouCaring website with a goal of raising $25,000 to help pay the medical bills for the treatment of his longtime friend, Jim Alden.

After spending a weekend in New York with friends from California last week, Alden returned home to find an envelope addressed to him which appeared to be the asthma medication he typically received in the mail.

When he opened the envelope, it triggered an explosion that sent pieces of shrapnel into his face, chest and hands, according to the website appeal.

His left hand sustained the most damage. He lost parts of two fingers and surgeons installed several rods to stabilize several fractured bones in his hand.

Smith noted that Alden could have been blinded by the attack had he not removed his contact lenses and slipped on his eyeglasses prior to opening the envelope.

Alden, 60, is a longtime city resident and active in the theater and LGBT communities.

“He was open about his orientation and political views,” Smith wrote on the website. “This was a highly personal attack and is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Jim’s partner was home at the time of the explosion, but was not injured.”

Nearly 200 donors had contributed $12,859 as of Monday night.

Federal and local law enforcement officers continue to look for clues to find the party responsible for the attack.

Alden and his partner had a “Love Trumps Hate” rainbow sign in the front window of their Pine Street residence. But investigators haven’t determined that politics or sexual orientation motivated the attack.

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