A California woman who was attacked by a shark last year while out swimming is now giving back to the hospital that helped her make her incredible recovery.
Maria Korcsmaros, 54, was training for a triathlon at Corona Del Mar, a beach in Newport, Calif., when she felt a sharp pain.
“My family, my son and my husband were going to spend the day at the beach," Korcsmaros told InsideEdition.com. "I was in the water for about 10 minutes. I felt this piercing pain in my torso and thought to myself ‘I have just been bitten by a shark.'"
Korcsmaros said her immediate thought was to flag down the lifeguard boat she had seen on her swim 250 feet out from the shore. She didn’t know the extent of her injuries.
“I was screaming, 'Get me out, get me out!’ Korcsmaros said. "[Then] I felt arms lifting me out of the water."
Korcsmaros was rescued by a lifeboat and taken by ambulance to Orange County Global Medical Center.
She’d been bitten by a great white shark, estimated to be 9-10 feet long.
Korcsmaros had three broken ribs, a fractured pelvis, multiple bite marks from her chest all the way down to her hips, and her tricep was detached down to the bone.
“When I walked in, you could tell from the door what had happened and it was a first. I think for everyone in the room, it was a first.” Dr. Phillip Rotter, who helped treat Korcsmaros, told CBSLA.
Her injuries required 161 staples and seven stiches, and she was in the ICU for 3 days.
Nine days after the attack, she was released from the medical center. She was up and walking, albeit struggling.
Korcsmaros said she slowly began her recovery with the goal of competing in another triathlon. By July, she was swimming again. In August she was running slowly. In September, she was biking.
“I did a little bit of training in the ocean next door to where it happened," Korcsmaros said. "I had a few moments of nervousness, but I did make it through."
In October, Korcsmaros competed in the “Mission Day” triathlon in San Diego, where she swam a quarter mile, did a six-mile bike ride and completed a two-and-a-half-mile run.
“I was in pretty good shape when I first started out and I think that really helps with your recovery," Korcsmaros said. "I am having goals and getting back into things. The fitness part of it is something that has always helped me recover from trials in my life."
Now, she wants to give back to others who have experienced traumatic injuries, and help them recover as she did.
“I have this strong mindset to get back into the swing of things and it helped me to think positive," Korcsmaros said. "It helped my recovery because the more I moved, the better I felt. After all of this, I thought to myself they [the hospital] did such a good job on me and helped me with my recovery.
"I just thought I wanted to try and give back.”