Life after shark attack — taking challenges one step at a time

Take life’s challenges one step at a time.

Nicole Moore

Nicole Moore

That’s the message Nicole Moore delivered at the 2013 Industry Luncheon, held at Best Western PLUS Orangeville Inn & Suites on Thursday (Feb. 21).

The luncheon, hosted by the Greater Dufferin Home Builders Association, Rotary Club and the Greater Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce, aims to unite a cross section of businesses from throughout Dufferin County.

“Life is too short to be anything but happy,” Moore said.

She is no stranger to challenge. The 40-year-old nurse at Headwaters Health Care Centre was attacked by a shark while vacationing in Cancun during January of 2011.

“I don’t wish to be identified as the shark lady, I go with it,” Moore said. “One moment should not define you, but they should strengthen you.”

Moore was bitten twice during the attack, which left her femur bone exposed and led to the amputation of her left arm.

“It bit through me like butter,” she said.

During her speech, Moore detailed a gruelling, and ongoing, recovery from her injuries.

While doctors have fitted her with a prosthetic arm, nerve damage hinders her ability to adapt.

“I can wear it for a couple of hours, but by night time I’m in tears,” Moore said.

She has accepted the fact that the attack has eliminated some once-common activities like playing volleyball or even tying her hair in a ponytail.

“I’m that woman who always had her hair up,” Moore said. “What’s even more heartbreaking is I can’t do my daughters’ hair.”

Moore told the luncheon audience that when facing obstacles, it’s important to continue moving forward.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,” Moore said, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. “What ever you do, keep moving forward.”

Although her reality has changed, Moore has set goals for herself. She hopes to once again be able to run, cycle and ski.

“I’m just starting to get those muscles back that I’ll be able to run,’ she said.

In an effort to reach her goals, Moore signed up for the Warrior Dash – a 5 km obstacle course held annually in Horseshoe Valley.

“I did everything except one obstacle and I wasn’t the last to finish,” she explained. “I needed to complete this to say obstacles won’t stop me.”

The Orangeville-area woman is often told, “I could never do what you did.” However, she disagrees with that statement.

“I tell people you never know what you’re capable of until you’re actually faced with it,” Moore said. “We are built to survive — it’s in us. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

Moore offers simple advice to hopeful travellers.

“The biggest people of advice I can give you is a card. A card with all your pertinent information on it,” Moore said. “It’s a simple thing and its takes five minutes to put together.”

Moore also told the luncheon she has recently signed a book deal and plans to tackle the Warrior Dash for a second round.

“All that really matters is we keep moving forward,” Moore said.