“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”
On a morning in November 2003, Bethany Hamilton went to Makau Beach in Hawaii to surf. At the time she was a 13 year old competitive surfer. She was lying on her surf board with her arms dangling in the water when a 12-15 foot tiger shark attacked her. Hamilton’s left arm was ripped off just below the shoulder.
Instead of panicking and possibly drowning, Hamilton paddled over to her friends using her intact arm. She even made sure to warn others in the water, shouting that there was a shark. Her friends helped her paddle to shore and she was taken to the hospital. Despite this event, Hamilton was surfing again the next month.
“Judging by my degradation in the last 24 hours, I’ll be surprised if I make it to Tuesday.”
Could you amputate your arm with a dull knife to survive? Aron Ralston could, and did. On May 1, 2003, an 800 pound boulder fell onto his arm and trapped him in a Utah canyon wall.
After being stuck in the same spot for five days with food and water supplies almost gone, Ralston took desperate steps to ensure his survival. He used the boulder to snap his bones. He then used his two inch dull pocket knife to agonizingly cut the tendons and muscles of his trapped arm. The cutting process took about an hour. He was finally free from the boulder. He rappelled down a 65-foot wall one handed and walked in the hot midday sun back to his car. On the way he was found by a family and given water while rescuers were on the way.
A film was made about this story called “127 Hours” and I recommend you see it.
“If you have to [drink urine], I suggest you let it cool down first. It doesn’t taste very nice.”
Ricky Megee stopped to help a couple whose car had broken down. Next, he was waking up with rocks and dirt covering him. The pit was meant to be his final resting place. He claimed to have been drugged and robbed by the couple. Megee suffered from exposure and malnutrition for the next two months. His diet consisted of leeches, lizards, insects, frogs, and snakes. He was forced to drink his urine when he couldn’t find rain puddles to drink from. He weighed 230 pounds before he got lost and weighed 105 pounds at his rescue. The man who found and rescued him described him as a walking skeleton.
“I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to be gone.”
Working as a hunting guide, Kootoo Shaw was helping a group of hunters from Wisconsin. They were three days into a hunt. While Shaw was sleeping in a tent, a polar bear targeted him at about four o’clock in the morning.
“He had his claws under my neck for a while, I could hear his breathing, then he let his claws off and he was still jumping on top of me, up and down four times,” he recalled. Another hunter shot and killed the bear. Shaw suffered horrific injuries. He suffered numerous slashes and bites. He required nearly 300 stitches to reattach his scalp.
“I think my head was so far down his throat that I touched his taste buds.”
45 year old James Morrow has been where few want to be: inside the jaws of a hungry alligator. Morrow was snorkeling in Florida’s Juniper Run. He was adjusting his snorkel when an alligator seized him by the throat and violently shook him for 10-20 seconds before releasing him. He was eventually helped onto a boat by his friends.
The force of the alligator’s jaws punctured his chest and collapsed one of his lungs. Dents are still visible on his head and bite marks are still visible on his neck. All he was able to do during the attack was to punch the alligator on the throat. The snorkeling mask still on his face saved him from obtaining any more serious damage, such as a punctured eye.