Soaring Beyond Expectations, How Amputee Found Her Purpose
- Surfer Bethany Hamilton, 33, lost her arm during a shark attack in 2003. Since then, she’s recovered, is a mom to four adorable children, and uses her experience to inspire others. As she commemorates the 20th anniversary of the life-changing attack, she credits her faith in God for helping her during her journey to recovery.
- Faith and prayer helped people like Hamilton, and research and many cancer warriors can also attest that faith helps them along their journeys. A study published in Cancer includes data that found “69% of cancer patients reported praying for their health” compared to “only 45% of the general U.S. population.”
- SurvivorNetTV documented the inspiring journey of a remarkable dancer who suffered pneumococcal sepsis – a bacterial infection – as a child, causing her to lose most of her limbs. Despite being a quadruple amputee, Keira’s passion for dancing was never lost.
Resilient surfer Bethany Hamilton, 33, crossed the 20-year milestone since losing her arm from a shark attack while surfing in Hawaii. Despite that traumatic experience as a young teen, the brave mother of four only grew stronger. Now, she’s an author, continues to surf, and is using her inspiring journey to fill other people with hope when faced with their own adversities.
View this post on InstagramRead More“The overnight popularity that came with the loss of my arm, but even more so with my overcoming and getting back on my board, was really challenging for me. I think that it was more difficult for me than the actual physical change of doing life with one arm,” Hamilton wrote in an Instagram post.
She commemorated the anniversary with a touching video with various clips of her life over the past two decades. Flashes of her as a teenager in the hospital, bravely surfing the waves with one arm. The empowering video clip also shows Hamilton running and exercising with her family.
Hamilton said that although she wasn’t prepared and even enjoyed the spotlight following the horrific attack from the Tiger Shark along the waters of Kauai, Hawaii, she learned to embrace her newfound role as a calling from God.
“Maybe God will be able to use my story to encourage others,” she said.
“I had a heart for others ever since I was really young. This gave me the willingness to take on the challenge of the unique attention because I wanted to use my story to encourage others with the hope that I had in God,” Hamilton said.
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Supportive fans chimed in, sharing how Hamilton’s resilience impacted countless other people, especially women.
“You. Are. A. Warrior. The way you do motherhood with your sweet four kiddos is so inspiring to me,” Instagram user Michaela Gasseling wrote.
Hamilton responded to Gasseling’s comment, saying, “Thank you so much,” with a cheerful emoji.
Last year, Hamilton released a children’s book, “Surfing Past Fear.”
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“There’s been a lot going on in the world, of course – so this is about helping children to overcome their fears, and it’s a passion of mine, to remind them that they can overcome challenges in their life,” Hamilton told Fox News Digital.
Hamilton leaned on her faith to help her through not just her recovery from losing her left arm but through life in general.
“I look at how God has taken something [that was] so awful and scary and hard and turned it into something beautiful,” she said.
Having faith and prayer helps people like Hamilton, and research and many cancer warriors can also attest to this fact.
WATCH: Turning to Faith
For some people, turning to faith can be a great way to keep spirits high when cancer starts taking an emotional and physical toll, New York City Presbyterian Pastor Tom Evans tells SurvivorNet.
“It’s important to reach out in a simple prayer to God, even if you’ve never prayed before, you don’t know what to say, a heartfelt plea, ‘God, help me, be with me,'” Pastor Evans told SurvivorNet.
“You can reach out to God, and you can reach out to people, your friends and family and say, ‘I can’t do this on my own. I need you.’ It’s in that willingness to be open and receive that we can find something deeper that we never would’ve encountered without this hardship,” Evans continued.
Leaning on Your Faith
A study published in Cancer includes data that found “69% of cancer patients reported praying for their health” compared to “only 45% of the general U.S. population.”
Cancer psychologist Dr. Andrew Kneier helped co-author “Coping with Cancer: Ten Steps toward Emotional Well-Being.” He also co-authored a column published by Stanford Medicine with Rabbi Jeffery M. Silberman, director of spiritual care at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut.
The two add more context to the impact faith has on cancer patients.
“A person’s faith or spirituality provides a means for coping with illness and reaching a deeper kind of inner healing,” Kneier and Silberman said.
“Coping means different things to different people: it can involve finding answers to the questions that illness raises, it can mean seeking comfort for the fears and pain that illness brings, and it can mean learning how to find a sense of direction at a time of illness. Religious teachings can help people cope in all these dimensions,” Kneier and Silberman continued.
Soaring. How a Woman Refused to Let an Amputation Stop Her
Kiera is a dancer who looks to dancing as an escape. What makes Kiera’s remarkable story so inspiring is she is a quadruple amputee due to pneumococcal sepsis – a life-threatening bacterial infection – as a child. However, she didn’t let her diagnosis stop her from her love of dance. Although Kiera does not have most of her limbs, she still finds a way to dance alongside her sister, Uriah.
The SNTV film, “SOAR,” covers Kiera’s life as a quadruple amputee, the sisters’ dance journey, and Uriah’s difficult decision to step away as a pair and pursue her dance career solo.