The man who sustained extensive injuries when a package he believed to be medication exploded as he opened it has spoken out for the first time, saying he is feeling better but his road to recovery will be long.
Jim Alden appears to be the victim of a targeted attack, authorities say. The 60-year-old man was found by police on the floor of his Center City Philadelphia home in the early morning hours of Nov. 22, after the package had detonated in his face.
Wrapped in a padded envelope and addressed to him, the package did not appear unusual because he receives asthma medication in the mail. But when he opened it, the explosion sent shrapnel at his face and chest. Alden lost parts of two fingers, and fractured his hands.
"The shrapnel damage to my face, chest and arms is slowly healing, and a blister on my ear drum is affecting my hearing, but is supposed to heal," Alden wrote in an update online. "At this point, I only know that I have a long road ahead of me, and I will likely be unable to work for quite some time."
Alden had just returned home from a trip to New York when noticed the envelope. The Rittenhouse Square resident has been long active in the city's LGBTQ and theater communities.
He and his partner have a "Love Trumps Hate" sign in the window of their 18th and Pine streets residence
While investigators haven't determined if politics or sexual orientation motivated the attack, they said the envelope was addressed to Alden and believe the attack was intended for him — though they're not sure why.
Alden declined to comment on the status of a joint investigation by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Philadelphia Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspector.
But he said he's moved by the support he's received since the attack.
"What I want to say at this point is how overwhelmed I have been at the outpouring of love and support that I've received from my partner, family, friends, and coworkers," Alden wrote. "As I go forward in my recovery I know I will continue to rely on the loving care of my partner and my friends, and I appreciate everyone's concern and compassion."
A close friend of Alden set up a crowdfunding campaign on the YouCaring website earlier this week to raise money to help pay for the medical bills. As of Wednesday morning, the campaign had reached $18,565 of its $25,000 goal.
"Please know that the donations will be invaluable as I deal with medical expenses and the potential of many months without income," Alden wrote.
To read Alden's full statement, visit YouCaring.com.