CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Surviving a shark attack puts you in an elite class with an incredible tale to tell. One Corpus Christi native has one of those harrowing stories.
Brook Toussaint has always been an animal lover, her family said.
When she wasn't busy adoring animals, Brook spent her time in the water as a lifeguard and on a swim team.
Combine those two passions, and her sister Paige said it should not come as a surprise that Brook loved marine life.
"I can safely say she's an animal lover," Paige said. "Dolphins have always been her favorite animal, so she's always been attracted to the sea."
Brook was so attracted to sea life that she spent seven years as a volunteer for the Texas Sealife Center and is currently pursuing a degree in Veterinary Medicine at a university on an island in the Caribbean.
But it was one day back in January when Brook's life changed forever. Brook went for a swim with some friends off the coast of an island in the Caribbean when she felt something bit her leg.
"It turns out it was a tiger shark and my sister bravely fought it off," Paige said. "She literally punched it in its nose and gouged its eyes to get it to let go of her leg."
The quick thinking and bravery of Brook and others helped save her life. After having emergency surgery, she had to have her leg amputated.
The life-saving care has come at an enormous cost.
"And then the hospital stays and the rehab, it's adding up very quickly," Paige said.
Brook's family has set up a GoFundMe for the medical expenses. Their goal is $250,000, but with the support of the Coastal Bend community and beyond, they have already raised over $80,000.
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