The local credit union where a shark attack victim works is raising money for their coworker as she continues to fight for her life at a San Diego hospital.
Leeanne Ericson suffered serious injuries Saturday when she was swimming in the waters off San Onofre State Beach next to her boyfriend, who was surfing. The surfspot is north of the now-closed San Onofre power plant near Basilone Road and Camp Pendleton.
Ericson was camping with her boyfriend when she decided to swim while he surfed. She was comfortable swimming in the ocean, her mother, Christine McKnerney-Leidle, said, since the family spent every summer surfing or swimming.
The couple saw a seal in the water and her boyfriend turned to swim out to a wave. Just then, Ericson disappeared from the water’s surface.
The shark, reportedly approximately 10 feet long, took the entire back of Ericson’s leg, missing her major arteries, but damaging her nerve and tearing out all the muscle from her knee to hip, her mother, McKnerney-Leidle said on Facebook.
At first, surgeons feared Ericson would lose movement in her leg; doctors found the sciatic nerve in tact and will now begin the process of reconstruction.
Doctors are still monitoring the foam and debris in Ericson's lungs. Authorities say that the shark dragged Ericson under the water during the attack, partially drowning her.
Officials still cannot say for sure what type of shark it was.
The surgeon told the family that if her boyfriend wasn’t there, Ericson would have died.
Ericson is fighting for her life at Scripps Memorial Hospital. Her family says she is in a medically induced coma as doctors work.
Once Ericson clears some major hurdles, she is looking at months, if not years, of recovery ahead, her family said.
Pacific Marine Credit Union has opened an account to collect donations for Ericson and her family.
"We are asking for the generous support and well wishes from the Southern California community to help us provide support for our co-worker in her time of need," a statement from the credit union read. "
All proceeds from the account will go directly to Ericson and her family.
Donations can be made at any Pacific Marine Credit Union branch location, or by mail. Make checks payable to:
C/O Pacific Marine Credit Union
1278 Rocky Point Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Ericson.
Last year, there were an estimated 59 shark attacks across the U.S., according to data collected by scientists at the University of Florida.