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Fundraiser festival for Taylor County shark attack victim held Saturday

Victim was attacked in late June
Posted at 11:43 PM, Aug 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-28 01:03:38-04

PERRY, Fla. (WTXL) — For Addison Bethea and her brother, Rhett Willingham, they say thank you to the community that has been showing up to fundraiser after fundraiser-- for the late June shark attack survivor.

"Learning different stuff, like walking around the house and figuring how to get to my bathroom or going around the kitchen and just do stuff by myself instead of just sitting in a hospital bed all day," Bethea said.

Since being discharged from Tallahassee Memorial in July after a shark attack in Taylor County, Bethea has not yet gone back to school, although she has made visits to see her friends.

Many of those friends were at Bethea's benefit festival Saturday morning. The festival helped raise over $12,000 for her recovery.

Trish Buhler helped organize the festival.

"With it being her senior year and my kids close to her age, it could of been one of my girls. So myself and five other ladies stepped up and put it together in a matter of weeks," Buhler said.

With live music, a motorcycle ride, and vendors across the entire park of Forest Hall, those who know Bethea's story - or know her personally - all got together to help celebrate and encourage Taylor County's bravest high school senior.

"I think she is super strong. She's one of the strongest people I have ever met. I don't know how she does it," said Nikki Hill, who attended the festival.

Bethea - once again - saying thank you to Taylor County and everyone who is rooting for her.

"Thank you for the support and everyone coming out today, and those who couldn't come but are supporting me through their phones. Thank you so much," Bethea said.

Bethea says she's currently in the process of getting a prosthetic as she's going through the non-profit "50 legs" that will help her get her prosthetic for free.