Thursday, June 05, 2014

COURAGEOUS SURFER : BETHANY HAMILTON


 I read Bethany Hamilton's story in Reader's Digest some years ago. I saw a photo of this pretty young woman holding a broken surf board and to my horror saw she was missing an arm. That was when I read her story thoroughly.

Bethany was 13 when she lost her arm to a shark while surfing that fateful day, October 31, 2003. What moved me was she didn't even panic, she described how she remained calm as the people with her helped her back to shore and did what they could to the bleeding stump before taking her to the hospital. I can only imagine how her father (who was at the hospital that day for a knee surgery) must have felt when he was told his child had been attacked by a shark!
In the article, Bethany talked about how she was itching to go back to surfing as her dream was to be a professional surfer; which she is now. She got a lot of support from her family and friends and drew her strength from God, being a devout Christian. She  didn't sit around and mope about her lost arm... no! She was soon back in the water and taught herself how to surf with one arm. Looking at her arm in the photo, I knew she couldn't possibly wear a prosthetic arm in or out of the water because the bite was far too high up and I again marvelled at her courage and determination to conquer the waves and not let what that shark did to her stop her from fulfilling her dream. Who would go back to the water after such a trauma? Bethany did.

I watched the movie adaptation of her book- SOUL SURFER last month and I had to reach for my hanky at the footages of the real Bethany Hamilton surfing, beating the waves. With determination, she also had faith in God and thanks to Him, she's alive,  still surfing and a real role model.
Her story is moving and inspirational and the whole time I read it, I didn't see her as a victim. I saw a very courageous young woman and may God continue watching over her and leading her to victory.

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