'Soul Surfer' visits Brooks Rehabilitation Center

Bethany Hamilton shares story of survival

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – She's called "Soul Surfer," not just for the spirit in which she attacks her sport, but for the amazing grace, grit and determination she has shown since a shark bit off her left arm, only to return to the water a month later.

Sunday, 24-year-old Bethany Hamilton shared her incredible story of survival with the team at the Brooks Rehabilitation Center to show them that giving up is not an option.

"Maybe they're not surfers, but whatever they're passionate about, they can get back out there and try it," Hamilton said. "I know that God gave me divine strength and sometimes I would wake up and have a hard day and struggle facing reality and facing that I only had one arm."

It's been more than 10 years since a 14-foot tiger shark bit off Hamilton's left arm while surfing in Hawaii. She returned to the waters and her sport just one month later.

For Brooks patient Amy Tobourn, Hamilton's story is one that reminds her while she may be disabled, she will always be able to accomplish her goals.

That same message resonated with so many others at the center, who said Hamilton's advice, autographs and pictures will all help them in their road to recovery.

"There is hope after trauma and injury," Hamilton said.

Many of the patients received autographed copies of Hamilton's autobiography and movie "Soul Surfer," which is based on her book.