Woman remains ‘very positive’ as she recovers from shark attack

By Robert Westermann, Jake Burns

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GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WTVR) — The congregation of Winn’s Baptist Church is sending support to one of its church families as Elisabeth Foley recovers from a shark attack in Walton County, Florida.

“Metaphorically speaking, we hug them every minute of the day and remind them how much we love them,” said Pastor Jeff Brauer.

Foley, 45, remains in a Florida hospital after undergoing surgery to treat serious injuries she sustained in Friday afternoon’s attack, which included the loss of her left hand. Brauer has been in contact with the family since their 17-year-old daughter asked him for prayers just hours after the attack.

“We prayed together and cried together, and that’s how it started for us,” Brauer said.

The church has set up a fundraising page to support the family on their road to recovery, which will likely include a medical flight back to Virginia. On a spiritual level, however, Brauer knows Foley will maintain a strong attitude.

“Elisabeth is in very good physical shape and has a very strong personality,” said Brauer. “She is a woman with great faith and has therefore remained very positive.”

Foley was one of three shark attack victims that day. Another attack occurred just four miles down the beach. Shark attacks remain rare in the United States, but the number of fatal attacks last year was 10 – four above average.

“Their faith is strong enough to know that this kind of thing happens to very, very good people,” Brauer said of the Foley family. “Sometimes lightning strikes, sometimes things go wrong, we live in a fallen world.”

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