Out in the Open

The aftermath of escaping a shark attack

Nicole Moore survived a shark attack and went on to advocate for shark conservation.
In 2011, Nicole more was a attacked by a shark. It bit her left arm, which was eventually amputated. (Courtesy of Nicole Moore )

In 2011, Nicole Moore survived a vicious shark attack while on vacation in Cancun, Mexico.

A shark bit a 30-centimetre chunk out of Nicole's left thigh and bit her left arm, which was eventually amputated.

With some help, Nicole escaped back to shore with life-threatening injuries.

"My injuries were so grave that everyone just kind of stood around and gawked," she said.

Nicole, a nurse, took stock of her own injuries and directed those on the beach to help save her life.

After almost a week in hospital in Mexico, Nicole was hospitalized in Canada. She eventually pulled through, having survived infections and multiple surgeries.

"The reality did set in that this was my new life," Moore said. "Now, I have to learn to re-walk. I had to learn to deal with chronic pain. I had to learn to redo everything in my life with one arm, being a parent of young children."

Nicole says she handled the challenges really well, but remembers one moment that sent her a few steps back. It was a conversation she had with a friend. That friend told Nicole she was having a hard time with how Nicole looked now. She said she couldn't stand to see Nicole this way. Their friendship ended. 

"That was so challenging for me because, while I was so incredibly blessed to be alive and happy, I all of a sudden realized the effect that I have on other people, and that other people may not be able to accept me for who I am now versus who I was."

Nicole says she isn't afraid of the ocean or sharks. In fact, after her attack she's become an "amateur expert" on sharks and a shark conservationist. 

"I alway tell people you never know what you can do and what you can survive when you're faced with that choice… And if you truly believe in something, you will fight for it, and for me, I really truly love the ocean and it's worth fighting for."

This story originally aired on January 14, 2018.  It appears in the Out in the Open episode "After Escape".