MOUNTLAKE TERRACE. Wash. - Friends gathered Saturday night to remember a Mountlake Terrace woman who died in a lion attack.
Earlier this month, a 550-pound lion attacked 24-year-old Dianna Hanson at an exotic animal sanctuary in California, where she died instantly.
Hanson’s friends organized a gathering event at Mountlake Terrace High School, where she graduated, to pay tribute to her life.
Friends told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Graham Johnson that they remembered Hanson as a young woman who grew up with a love for big cats.
“She loved cats. That was her passion in life. That’s what she wanted to do. She wanted to get into animal husbandry,” said Hanson’s friend Brad Wagnon.
Wagnon treasures a text message Hanson sent him from California on her birthday.
“Glad to know no matter how old I get, I still have you, have my back, as my friend. Here’s to another year of friendship,” Hanson wrote.
Rebecca Cole remembers Hanson’s incredible energy.
“I really miss her. A lot of people miss her,” said Cole. “She was fearless, fearless. I’ve known her all my life. Doing cartwheel flips, I have so many pictures of her hanging off stuff. She was just an amazing person.”
The friends who organized the tribute said they want to remember how Hanson lived and not how she died.
“So we can all celebrate the life she had. Not the fact that she’s gone now,” Cole said.
A deputy shot the lion after the attack, but it is still unclear what made the lion attack.