LATEST: Addison’s surgery goes well as support pours in

Addison Bethea, 17, was bitten by a shark on June 30 in Florida and she is continuing to recover with loved ones by her side. (Source: WCTV)
Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 12:11 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Support is pouring in for Addison Bethea, since she’s been recovering from surgery, following a shark attack that happened last Thursday.

The surgery was rescheduled for Wednesday, and it went well, the family said. That was the third surgery since the shark attack, according to doctors.

Friends and family put their minds together and started a Facebook page entitled “Fight Like Addison,” for those who want to send their best wishes.

The family posted the latest update on the Facebook page and the post said the good news is Addison is now out of surgery and it went very well.

They said the doctors were able to perform an above the knee amputation and it went very well, and that saving the tissue of the lower leg was paramount in this, even being possible.

“Dr. DeRosier, Dr. Hutchinson, and the medical staff can’t get enough praise from us for the wonderful care of our baby girl today,” Addison’s mother, Michelle Murphy, said.

She said Addison will be moved to recovery and later this afternoon, she will be moved back to her room.

“Please continue to keep her and all of us in your prayers,” Murphy said.

The family is asking for everyone’s prayers, and they are still holding off on visitation at this time.

Through T-shirts and car decals with the hashtag #fightlikeaddison people can help raise funds towards Addison’s medical expenses on the Fight Like Addison Facebook page here.

There has also been a GoFundMe page started to help the family with medical expenses and you can find a link for that by clicking here.

Copyright 2022 WCTV. All rights reserved.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - 17-year-old Addison Bethea is continuing to recover at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Bethea’s surgery was scheduled for today to amputate her right leg below the knee.

The family tells WCTV’s Madison Glaser that surgery was postponed, and is now set for Wednesday morning.

She’s scheduled for her third surgery, following a shark attack on Thursday, June 30.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A long fight ahead for Addison Bethea, the victim of a shark attack on Keaton Beach earlier this week.

Bethea, 17, has remained in good spirits and even said she’d get back in the ocean after she’s healed.

“I’ve always been told that something will happen just like that and that was definitely this situation,” shark attack victim Addison Bethea said.

The Perry native, Addison Bethea started her Thursday on the water just like many others ahead of Independence Day.

“We were scalloping for about two hours and we went to the last spot obviously for only like 15 minutes and we were going towards the boat and I felt like a tug,” she said.

The tug of a roughly nine-foot-long shark came seemingly out of nowhere.

“I tried to push it off of me and punch it in its nose but it was at like a weird position where I couldn’t punch his nose good and then it tried to drag me underwater because we were in like 6 ft. of water,” Bethea said.

Her brother, Rhett Willingham, was nearly 8ft. away from her when the shark attached itself to her thigh.

“I heard her almost yelp and I stood up to turn around and see what was going on because it sounded like something scared her and she was under the water and then she came back up and there was blood all around her and I saw the shark,” said Beatha’s brother, Rhett Willingham.

Willingham, a firefighter, helped her fight it off but then came the next battle to save her life.

He created a tourniquet to wrap around Bethea’s thigh to get her back to shore.

Three days later from Bethea’s room at Tallahassee Memorial, their mother, Michelle Murphy called him a true hero.

“My daughter by medical standards should not be alive right now and I know that. It’s a miracle she survived this and I know if Rhett hadn’t been the one that was there when it happened we may be in a very different scenario right now,” said the mother of two, Michelle Murphy.

Bethea’s story quickly spread across the country and she said that it’s the support from people all over has helped her through this process.

“It’s just insane because I’ve seen other people go through things and need support and thought it’d ever been me and now that I’m going through it, it’s just crazy,” Bethea said.

But the most meaningful bond is right here at home with her older brother.

“We’ve always been close like since forever but this somehow brought us even closer. He’s always been by my side and I’ve always looked up to him,” she said.

Despite the challenges ahead her love of being out on the water remains.

“Don’t be scared of the ocean. I had so many people comment on my Instagram saying, “I’m so scared of the ocean now,” but I’m still going to get in the ocean when I heal and get better. I’m still going to do what I love but don’t just let fear overtake your life,” she said.

Bethea suffered serious injuries to her right thigh which caused a total loss of her quadriceps and massive nerve and vascular damage.

As a result, Bethea has surgery scheduled for Tuesday to have an amputation just above her right knee.

Bethea and her family are asking for continued prayers as she heads into her next surgery.

There has also been a GoFundMe page started to help the family with medical expenses and you can find a link for that by clicking here.

Copyright 2022 WCTV. All rights reserved.