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Kelowna woman shares story of being swept away in Mexico

After going through an experience that made her life flash before her eyes, a local woman says she came out of the experience with renewed gratitude.

Shannon Christensen, executive director for Mamas for Mamas, was on vacation in Mexico when she was swept away into the ocean.

<who>Photo Credit: Shannon Christensen</who>

While taking a midnight stroll along the beach with her partner, Dylan, a giant wave crashed onto the shore, sweeping her away into the ocean. Dylan had turned around for no more than a minute, but it happened so quickly that he didn’t see it, and Shannon didn’t have the time to scream.

There wasn’t a storm that night, but the tide was up and Shannon says the waves could go from one foot to 10 feet high in seconds.

“I felt safe because I was only up to my ankles and hadn’t been in the ocean yet, so I had no idea what a pull it had or how big the waves got in seconds,” she said.

<who>Photo Credit: Shannon Christensen</who>

She was in the water for about an hour, trying to float to conserve energy and stay calm, but despite having years of experience swimming in the ocean she could still feel the panic setting in.

“I couldn’t see anything other than water everywhere,” she told NowMedia. “The waves were really big and coming one after another. The more I looked for shore, the more I panicked, so I just tried to calm down so I didn’t get all cramped up.”

When she finally made it to the shore again after what she says felt like an eternity, she emerged from the ocean a kilometre away from their resort, disoriented, but grateful. The only feeling that surpassed being able to touch the sand was being reunited with Dylan.

<who>Photo Credit: Shannon Christensen</who>

The incident left her feeling grateful for the present, and says that we should not “waste a second on anything that doesn’t make your heart sing.”

“Say I love you every time you feel it, dream big, hug bigger, eat good food, count your blessings, not your calories,” she says.

<who>Photo Credit: Shannon Christensen</who>

As for the incident itself, she encourages everyone to teach their children how to swim and what to do in situations like the one she found herself in.

“Also, if someone you love is suddenly nowhere to be found, don’t ever stop looking,” she adds. “Seeing and holding Dylan on the other end of it all was the best feeling in the entire world, truly.”

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