Addison Bethea was about to start out her senior 12 months of highschool when an aggressive 9-foot shark bit her proper leg in June 2022.
She has recovered from almost shedding her life — and now she is making ready to present delivery to her first little one.
“It’s loopy to be bringing a model new life into [the world] when mine was nearly gone,” Bethea, 18, informed “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. “It’s type of loopy how that works.”
The northwest Floridian was scalloping at Keaton Beach along with her brother, Rhett Willingham, when the shark grabbed her.
“It felt like somebody simply pulling you underneath water, like that scary sensation when somebody simply touches you within the water,” she recalled. “I didn’t really feel any ache or something the complete time it bit me aside from once I tried to pry it off with my fingers.”
After attempting to poke the shark’s eyes and punch its nostril, she screamed for assist.
Willingham, a firefighter and emergency medical technician, got here to her rescue.
“It’s nearly like once you’re in a dream, and also you’re attempting to scream in a dream, and it appears like nothing’s popping out. That’s what I felt like in that second, so I belted as loud as I might,” she continued.
Willingham ultimately freed his sister, who was airlifted to a Tallahassee hospital about 80 miles away.
Over the course of six surgical procedures, docs reconstructed a lot of her thigh and amputated her proper leg above the knee.
She now has a prosthetic leg.
The former cheerleader’s speedy restoration allowed her to attend courses in individual, take part within the annual homecoming celebration, and even stroll at her commencement in May.
She mentioned she isn’t restricted from the actions she loves — she simply has to get inventive.
“I’m nonetheless doing the stuff I used to do, it’s simply little slower and it’s a studying course of, however I nonetheless do it my very own methods,” mentioned Bethea, who intends to pursue a level in bodily remedy.
On July 1, one 12 months after the assault, she returned to Keaton Beach and the water with out worry.
“It didn’t make me unhappy or something,” she defined. “I didn’t get emotional. It was identical to [a] again to simply regular type of factor, hop again into routine.”
Looking forward, Bethea plans to welcome her first little one in December on the identical hospital that handled her post-attack.
Her story has served as each an inspiration and a warning to others who dare trespass in shark-infested waters.
“You can’t simply be mad on the ocean once you’re in [sharks’] territory,” she mentioned. “They know what they’re doing. They know what they wish to eat. You’ve simply received to be aware of that.”