This incredible tale of luck starts with Eugene Finney on holiday in Huntington Beach, California, with his two children and girlfriend.
"The surf was pretty big that day," Finney said to Mercury News, "The waves were about 7 to 9 feet [2.1-2.7 meters], and the water is pretty deep. You can't touch the bottom."
Finney and his 10-year old daughter dived into the sea, where they were confronted with a huge cresting wave. Finney grabbed his daughter and they were dragged about 6 meters (20 feet) underwater. Speaking to CBS Boston, Finney said: “Something struck me from behind. I’d never been hit like that before. It was pretty jarring. It kind of gave me an instant whiplash,”
Finney left the water with a bloody gash on his back, still unsure at what had happened. As his girlfriend washed the wound in the beach showers, the lifeguard ordered everyone to leave the sea as shark fins had been spotted.
Five days later, still in pain, Finney was back at work as a marketing coordinator for the art museum in Massachusetts. After the pain in his upper body and abdomen got worse, Finney was eventually convinced to get checked out at the hospital. As he underwent a CAT scan, doctors found a cancerous tumour the size of walnut on his kidney.
Medics promptly operated on Finney to remove the tumor. The tumor was found in such good time it had not yet spread to other organs. The operation was a complete success and, a few months later on October 3, Finney was declared 100% cancer free – without the need for radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Talking about the shark attack to CBS Boston, Finney's surgeon Dr Ingolf Tuerk said, “It lead to a situation that saved his life. That’s pretty fascinating when you think about it.”
Main image credit: Elias Levy/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)