Community rallies to raise money for shark attack victim
"WE NEARLY lost our son, our brother, our grandson, our boyfriend, our best mate."
With those heartfelt words, a group of Sam Morgan's friends launched a fundraising campaign for the Ballina shark attack victim.
So far they have raised more than $3000.
Sam, 20, was attacked by a bull shark at Lighthouse Beach last week and is now recovering at the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Set up by a group of the surfer's friends, including girlfriend Dakota Drury, the GoFundMe campaign aims to "raise funds to help Sam through this difficult period and the obstacles that lay ahead for him during his long road of recovery".
Funds will also be donated to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
"Sam remains in hospital recovering from life-saving operations to his upper left leg, and is extremely lucky to be a survivor," the fundraising website states.
"He is so grateful for all the well wishes of support that he has received over the past few days, and has been blown away with how far and wide this his story has reached.
"Sam would also like to pay tribute to the amazing paramedics, doctors and nurses who together have saved his life."
The GoFundMe page explains that Sam developed a love for surfing and the ocean at a young age.
"At the age of three his family took off on an adventure travelling around Australia in a van for an entire year," the page states.
"Sam's father Pete has passed on his love and passion for surfing and all that the lifestyle brings ... being a well accomplished local surfer and a much loved and respected young man, this has hit our community extremely hard."
The GoFundMe page says the North Coast surfing community has been "feeling extremely uneasy for quite some time".
"Sam is the 11th victim on this particular beach, along with many other attacks on nearby east coast beaches; it's raised the question of how we can protect our family members and what is happening in our waters," the friends wrote.
"Surfing is a way of life up here; some may say it's a religion.
"Our community is bonded by the love of the ocean and beaches, and it is vital that our beaches become safe again."
Visit www.gofundme. com/sammorgan
There is also a Sam Morgan Recovery Fund Facebook page.