Shark Attack Victims Can Find Hope in Bethany Hamilton's Story, 'Soul Surfer' Says
Bethany Hamilton told InsideEdition.com that she wants the recent shark attack victims to know there is hope in their hardship.
After a recent spate of shark attacks, which left two people dead and one teen without a leg, "Soul Surfer" Bethany Hamilton has advice for those victims who have been forced to find a new normal.
Several people have been attacked by sharks in recent weeks. Two teens were bitten off North Carolina, with one of them losing their leg. And two people lost their lives. A 65-year-old man was attacked off the coast of Hawaii and never regained consciousness, and a 21-year-old was killed by a swarm of sharks while snorkeling in the Bahamas.
Hamilton knows what these people went through. She was thrust into the international spotlight when a tiger shark bit her while she was surfing off Hawaii in 2003. She lost her arm in the attack.
But she didn't let the devastating loss stop her from pursuing her dreams of being a professional surfer. Defying the odds, she learned how to surf with one arm. She got back on her board and made a successful career catching waves.
Hamilton told InsideEdition.com that she wants these recent shark attack victims to know there is hope in their hardship.
"I feel like I actually don't have to say much. They can look at my life and just see that there's hope beyond their situation," she said.
Hamilton, who first told her story in the 2004 autobiography "Soul Surfer," is diving deeper into her journey of perseverance and positivity in a new documentary called "Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable," opening in theaters on Friday.
"I hope people leave recognizing their obstacles in life and knowing that they can be unstoppable and look for ways to be positive in every situation that comes our way," she said of the film.
The teen who lost her leg and several fingers after being bitten off North Carolina, 17-year-old Paige Winter, seems to be on the same page as Hamilton.
In a video interview provided by the Vidant Medical Center, Winter said she isn't letting her injury define her.
"I am still going to do all of the stuff they can do — I am going to be able to walk, I am going to be able to write. I am still the same old Paige,” she said. “When I was in that water, I was praying. I was like, ‘I am 17, I got so much to do.’”
Winter said that she is seeing the positives from the experience.
"I think with this situation I can transform it. It isn’t something like, ‘Oh, how tragic, a 17-year-old lost a leg.’ No, a 17-year-old lost a leg and we are still poppin,” she said.
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