Back in 2003, Bethany Hamilton made nationwide news when her left arm was chomped off and carried away by a tiger shark while she was surfing. A photogenic surfer kid, she popped up on many newscasts and talk shows – “Oprah,” “Larry King Live” and “Ellen DeGeneres” among them – demonstrating the aplomb one would expect from someone much older than her 13 years.

The Honolulu Advertiser a few months ago carried a feature story on Bethany. Its headline characterized her as a “woman,” and a woman she has become.

At age 18, she continues to compete internationally as a surfing pro. She’s turning out books, producing videos, accepting inspirational speaking engagements and launching cosmetic products. She is unquestionably an inspiration to teenage girls everywhere. The Advertiser article reports, “Two girls from the Mainland with life-threatening medical conditions recently came to Kauai to meet Bethany, thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation. Their wish was to meet Bethany. Bethany spent the day with them and their parents and gave them surf lessons. One of the parents said it was one of the most amazing things they’d ever seen, how their daughter’s whole countenance changed.” The article quoted Bethany as saying, “Just by me surfing with one arm, it’s given a lot of people hope going through tough times in life. I’d never take my arm back for anything, so much good has come out of it.”

Check out Bethany’s Web site at www.bethanyhamilton.com.

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