By Clive Bacchus
St. Kitts-Nevis (WINN) – Ross University Student Brook Toussaint is back in Texas and a GoFundMe page has been established to help with her medical expenses.
She was bitten by a shark while kayaking and swimming with a group of seven Ross students at about 10.25 a.m. on Saturday (Jan. 9) near Booby Island.
A post on the GoFundMe page by Paige Toussaint, who describes herself as Brook’s older sister:
“Hello family and friends,
As many of you know, Brook was about to begin her final semester of didactic learning at the Ross University of Veterinary Medicine on the Island of Saint Kitts. Unfortunately, due to a scuffle with a shark, those plans have changed. On Saturday, January 9, 2021, Brook was attacked by a tiger shark while on her exercise swim with her Saturday Swim Group. She sustained injuries to her left leg where it attacked, as well as her right hand that she used to fight it off- punching it in the nose and trying to gouge its eyes. After an amazing rescue by the kayakers and swimmers of the group, the coast guard took her to the hospital for emergency surgery. She has since been transported to Houston where she is being closely monitored. The recovery process will be tough and lengthy, so we appreciate any donations as expenses are likely to be significant.”
A post from Michelle Szalasny stated:
“Brook has brought so much joy into my life since I met her almost 3 years ago. Her laughter and sassy personality can always make me smile and her jokes have gotten me through the hard days. (She’s also the person that Archie loves the most in the entire world 😂😂😂)
This past weekend, this amazing human survived a shark attack. Please consider donating to her [GoFundMe] page to support her medical expenses. She means so much to so many and I’m so thankful that she’s still with us! She had courageous people with her to get her to the hospital for emergency surgery and get her to Texas for further medical care.
I love you Brook, I’m praying for you and I’m so happy that you’re still making your cheesy jokes even through all of this.”
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine(RUSVM) informed WINN on Monday that, “a group of 7 individuals affiliated with RUSVM were kayaking and swimming near Booby Island, St. Kitts, this morning when one of them, a current student, was attacked by a shark. The incident took place at approximately 10:25 a.m. local time. One of the individuals called 911, the Coast Guard was dispatched, and the injured student was taken to Alexandra Hospital, Nevis. We understand that the student is in stable and critical condition following surgery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the student and their family.”
Director of Marine Resources Marc Williams told WINN that recent reports of shark attacks in the region indicate that sharks are coming closer to shore in search of food due to the effects of climate change.
“If something looks like food they will attack until they realize it’s not food. We just want people using the sea to be aware and alert about predators may be moving in the water,” Williams told WINN.
Sharks were spotted chasing a stingray last October (2020) about three miles from the incident on Saturday.
A French tourist was fatally injured by shark bites in St. Martin while swimming in Orient Bay on Thursday, December 10 according to the St Maarten Herald.