17-year-old Addison Bethea had her world turned upside down in late June when she was bitten by a shark while searching for scallops near Keaton Beach, Florida.

Addison is a cheerleader and a tennis player. And she’s also quite young to experience an accident and crisis of this magnitude. However, Miss Addison Bethea has a positive attitude and abundant faith, and she will be just fine!

A native of Florida, Addison knew that if attacked by a shark, her best defense was to punch the fish in the nose. She explained to CNN that she couldn’t quite accomplish that. But she did hit it in the face and poke at its eyes in an attempt to escape.

Addison’s brother, Rhett Willingham, swam nearby when he heard his sister in distress. He quickly came to Addison’s aide, getting the shark off of her, putting her into a boat that had come upon the situation, and wrapping her bleeding leg in a tourniquet. Addison was airlifted to a hospital, but the care she received from Rhett, who is a firefighter and EMT, might very well have saved her life!

Of her brother, Addison said, “He’s always been kind of like a hero to me. I knew once I was in trouble, he said he would get me out. He promised. So I expected nothing less.” That’s a wonderful brother-sister relationship!

Addison’s injuries to her upper right leg were extremely serious, resulting in the loss of her four quadricep muscles. Doctors determined that the best course of action was to amputate Addison’s leg just above her knee and use muscles from the lower part of her leg to repair and restore use of the remaining upper leg.

Thankfully, surgery was a success, and Addison is doing well in her recovery. She has relied on her sense of humor and her faith to get her through the initial hurdles, and she will continue to do so throughout the extensive rehabilitation.

Michelle Murphy, Addison’s mother, said, “God blessed us by allowing Addison to live and we will never lose focus on that gift.”

Addison’s journey of healing has been shared on Facebook, and there is a GoFundMe page established for those that might wish to help the family with Addison’s medical expenses.

This Florida teen is a fighter, facing this challenge with grit and grace! Something tells us that Miss Addison Bethea will be doing many brave things during her life, and we can’t wait for the world to see what they are!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalms 28:7