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Community paddles out for boy who survived 2018 Shark attack

Posted at 6:24 PM, Sep 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-08 13:25:34-04

ENCINITAS, Calif., (KGTV) -- Friends and family celebrated the survival of 14-year-old Keane Webre-Hayes at a community paddle-out event. The teenager was attacked by a great white shark at Beacon's Beach one year ago this month.

The line between life and death is so thin for Keane.

"People come up to me and say, 'hey what's that from'?" Keane said as he pointed at the large scars on this left cheek, ear, and neck.

Last September, the then 13-year-old was bitten by a great white shark while lobster diving at Beacon's Beach.

"I swam 70 yards to a kayak with basically no arm," Keane said.

He screamed for help toward a few kayakers in the distance. That is when he met Matthew Ephron, who helped him get to shore.

"He did most of the work, and we just got him in so that he wouldn't be out there forever," Ephron said.

Doctors said Keane lost half of the blood in his body. But 1,000 stitches later, the boy survived. And for the last year, doctors, trainers, therapists, and teachers helped Keane find his new normal.

"We honestly couldn't have gone through it without the support of the community," Keane's mother, Ellie Hayes, said. "The hugs, the love, the gifts, the support."

So to say thank you, Keane's family hosted a paddle-out at Moon Light State Beach to honor his survival.

"Without them, I would not be able to move my arm," Keane said. "I probably would not be who I am today without them."

Keane has made incredible strides. From being bedridden for weeks, he now plays in a club beach volleyball team. Family and friends said Saturday's paddle-out is a celebration of life and proof of Keane's incredible resilience.

"I definitely want people to know that I can do things, and also if I can do that, you can do that if you put your mind to it," Keane said.

Local surf-art legend Andy Davis also attended the event and gave Keane a custom painting featuring a man on a surfboard in Keane's favorite color, pink.