Laurie Boyett was attacked while swimming 300 yards offshore on Kona, Hawaii, in 1999. She lost her right buttock and suffered severed tendons in eight fingers as she fended off a 12- to 14-foot tiger shark. Her 17-year-old nephew kept her afloat, as she bled profusely, until a rescue boat could get them to shore.
The retired school office worker still loves the ocean and swims daily five months a year near her home. Her experience deepened her religious faith and gave her a profound appreciation for life. She was introduced to shark conservation through the Pew Environment Group and is now a strong supporter. She was among a group of survivors who worked for passage of the U.S. Shark Conservation Act, which closed loopholes in the nation's shark finning ban.