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Hawaii: Champion Surfer Helps Provide Inspiration and Education for Girls

One young woman used her tragic accident to spread a message of faith, hope, and inspiration to children around the world in partnership with World Vision.

December 2007

Bethany Hamilton is pictured here with a girl she met in Thailand in 2005. Since her accident in 2003, Bethany has carried a message of faith and hope to children around the world.
© 2006 Jon Warren/World Vision
Seventeen-year-old Bethany Hamilton has overcome long odds in her life. On Oct. 31, 2003, a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her near the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

During the accident, she lost an arm, and her goal of professional surfing was seemingly quashed. But Bethany was undeterred — her faith in God and determination to surf professionally inspired her with a positive attitude that continues to this day. Her motto: "Me, quit? No way!"

Representing Faith, Diligence

Ignoring the doubts of others, Bethany continued to pursue her dream of surfing as a pro. Since the shark attack, she has achieved participation in numerous final competitions and has won three contests. In August, at the first stop on the Hawaii National Scholastic Surfing Association circuit, she took first place in the Open Women's division, placing ahead of 2003-04 National Champion Carissa Moore. Still, she sees herself as more than a surfer. Bethany hopes to inspire others with her story and her faith in Christ.

She teamed up with World Vision in 2004 to be a voice for children in need. "As I've traveled to see the work of World Vision, I'm shocked to see the obstacles that girls need to overcome," says Bethany. "I know how God has helped me battle through the adversity in my own life. It's something that I deal with every day.

"Although the struggles are different, I can relate to the hard work it takes to overcome obstacles in life. What these girls have to go through inspires me to keep going!"

Bringing Hope

Through a special partnership with World Vision, Bethany is now working to provide education to girls around the world while offering encouragement to people in the United States. The campaign provides a series of inspiring multimedia devotions featuring Bethany as a special thanks to those who contribute to World Vision's fund to help girls attain an education. The devotions are created and hosted by iAmplify, a Web site offering faith-based audio and video programs.

"An education is out of reach for far too many girls around the world," explains World Vision's Dan Berggren. "Not only do these girls deserve a chance to achieve their dreams, but by empowering girls, we can lift entire communities. We're so pleased to be partnering with Bethany Hamilton and iAmplify in this effort to deliver assistance for girls and a message of hope to both those in need and the donors themselves."

Learn More

>> Read more about Bethany Hamilton, her inspiring life story, and the hope she has provided for others.
>> Read an eNews article about one child in Ethiopia whose World Vision sponsorship enables her to continue her education and avoid the same path as many of her young peers — early marriage.

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World Vision
Phone: 1-888-511-6548
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way,WA 98063-9716
© 2014 World Vision Inc.
World Vision, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.