Cheri Hamilton experienced every mom’s worst nightmare – the emergency phone call from the police.
The voice at the other end informed her that her 13 year-old daughter had been seriously injured.
Her only daughter, Bethany, had been attacked by a shark while surfing. She was hospitalized in critical condition.
Seven years later Cheri has chronicled the events before and after that fateful day in her book, “Raising a Soul Surfer.”
My wife I met Cheri while she was in Edmonton in 2011 speaking at the final cinematic showing of “Soul Surfer.” We had dinner together at Kelsey’s in Claierview.
She was accompanied by her daughter’s youth pastor, Sarah Hill and Sonya Balmores, an actress in the film who attends the Hamilton’s church in Hawaii.
Cheri was engaging, easy going, and laid back – everything you’d expect to find in a surfer mom. The international attention
Cheri talked about her favourite chorus – Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name.” It’s the worship song in the opening scene from the movie. It became the Hamilton’s theme song they have sung everywhere they go to speak. The lyrics express their perspective on life – “Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name.”
Cheri patiently answered questions, and posed for pictures with filmgoers. Then she reminded the audience that everything in the film was an actual reflection of what happened to her daughter, Bethany. Her husband’s same day surgery interrupted to allow surgeons to operate on their daughter; a paramedic vacationing near the sight of the attack, coming to Bethany’s assistance, and the quick action of the friends surfing with Bethany that doctors say saved her life.
Its not easy raising a “soul surfer” but she handles her role with ease.