Teen Who Lost Leg in Shark Attack Says She's 'Still Poppin'
"I think with this situation I can transform it," said 17-year-old Paige Winter.
The 17-year-old was at the beach at Fort Macon State Park in North Carolina with family when the unthinkable happened and a shark bit down on her leg.
In a video interview provided by the Vidant Medical Center on Friday, the teen said she wants people to see how she "is alright."
"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.’”
Paige lost part of her left leg, as well as several fingers. But she doesn't hold any ill will toward the creature that forever changed her life.
"Sharks are good people, and that is just kind of the truth," she said. "They are still so good and they are so cool."
Paige 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.
Paige was pulled underwater by a bull shark when her father sprang into action to save her. Her father, Charlie, a firefighter and paramedic, punched the shark in the face five times trying to free his daughter.
He spoke for the first time at a hospital press conference Friday.
“I immediately started to hit it,” he said. “I hit it about five times, it could have been 10, it could have been three, I don’t know, I wasn’t keeping track. I know I was hitting it and I hit it with everything I could and it let go.”
The outpouring of support has been overwhelming for the family.
East Carolina Brace and Limb is donating a custom prosthetic leg for the teenager.
When she is ready, the company will make a mold out of plaster, much like a cast. Her new knee will have a microprocessor that senses movement and will adjust to the way she walks.
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