A shark severed Salamone's Achilles tendon in 2004 as she waded in waist-deep water 50 feet from shore at Florida's Cape Canaveral National Seashore. After surgery and months of therapy, she returned to her hobby of competitive ballroom dancing, but the attack haunted her. She questioned why it had happened to her—a conservationist and a journalist who specialized in environmental reporting.
Eventually, she came to see the encounter as a test of her resolve and dedication to protecting the environment. She subsequently obtained a master's degree in environmental sciences and policy and left her newspaper job after 21 years to join the Pew Environment Group, where she works to save the world's sharks. She organized Pew's Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation group and has recruited fellow survivors from around the globe to help her cause.