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My name, Bethany Hamilton, may not ring a bell, but I am known as the girl who never gave up. I survived the unthinkable. I want to make a difference in people’s lives by sharing my story, so here it goes. Every morning I hit the beach with my friends. Halloween is usually the time to go trick-or-treating, but for me it was the time to catch a perfect wave. So at sunrise I was already at Tunnel Beach, feeling as though my veins were filled with salt water.
The water was crystal clear and very calm. I was relaxing on my board with my left arm dangling in the water as I waited for the next big wave.
My friends were floating not too far away. All of them were looking out to sea. Out of nowhere, came a giant tiger shark, and all I saw was a flash of grey. All I felt was a lot of pressure and a couple of fast tugs.
It was all over in seconds! That’s all it took for the 15 foot tiger shark to bite my left arm off near my shoulder. I waited in shock as all the water turned bright red. I said in a loud but not panicky voice “l Just got attacked by a shark. ” After the attack, I kept saying “Get to the beach. Get to the beach. ” My arm was bleeding badly, but that didn’t prevent e from praying.
They tied a shirt around my stub as a tourniquet.
As I was rushed to the hospital, I remember the paramedic’s guy saying, “God will never leave you, nor forsake you. ” He was right. At the hospital, surgeons cleared out of the operating room so I could be rushed in. They gave me blood and cleaned out my terrible wound. I stayed in the hospital for about a week after the accident, because I needed time to heal and regain my strength. My family was with me constantly, but honestly I Just wanted to go surfing. Many visitors came to see me, and all I saw was pity on their faces.
After I was out of the hospital, I discovered that my life had changed dramatically. Everyday tasks suddenly became difficult. I knew I needed to forget about surfing, but I couldn’t. The attack hadn’t lessened my love for surfing, and I wasn’t ready to give up. Less than a month later, I was back on my surf board, but paddling with only one arm was not easy. Standing up on the board was equally tough. Catching my first wave after the accident, made everything worthwhile. I rode the wave all the way to the beach, and after that, I had tears of happiness running down my face.
A lot of people think soul surfers are Just people who surf and don’t compete, but I think it’s someone who Just loves surfing for what it is, never gives up, and always sticks with the ocean. ” I still dream of surfing victories, but now IVe got other dreams, too. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to help others deal with pain and loss. Most importantly, I want to encourage people to follow their dreams, no matter how hard it seems. All I know is that my life will include plenty of surfing. IVe been surfing since I was five, and I’ll be surfing until however ling I can.
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