A family vacation turned from relaxation and joy to chaos and fear in the blink of an eye. While a young boy was happily snorkeling in a Florida Keys reef, he suffered a life-changing attack.
Many children grow up with love for the ocean. They enjoy swimming and exploring the great depths, but sometimes their adventures end in disaster.
Parents try their best to protect their kids from looming danger, but they can’t always prevent injury. One ten-year-old boy found himself in a terrifying situation, but his absolute faith and strength surprised everyone.
THE SOUND NO PARENT WANTS TO HEAR
Jameson Reeder Jr. loved spending time in the water and couldn’t wait to snorkel with his family in August 2022. The group was having a great time and making memories when everything changed suddenly.
While the devastating encounter shocked everyone, the little boy’s attitude was what truly surprised bystanders.
A traumatic event occurred within a few seconds, forcing Jameson Jr.’s dad to act quickly. Jameson Sr. heard the sound no mother or father wants to hear—his son’s blood-curdling screaming and crying.
HE NIGHTMARISH INCIDENT
The dad knew he needed to remain calm and get his family to safety. He helped his other kids, Noah, Nehemiah, and Eliana, onto the boat.
Then the brave father instructed Jameson Jr. to cling to a pool noodle while they made their way to him. Jameson Sr. jumped into the water and retrieved his injured child.
EMERGENCY HELP FROM STRANGERS
A sea creature had attacked Jameson Jr., and the family believed it was an eight-foot Bullshark—everyone was horrified and worried about the youngster’s survival.
Miraculously, the family spotted another boat close by and signaled for assistance. The kind strangers had a faster boat, and a nurse onboard could attend to the youngster instantly.
Jameson Jr. and his mom, Mary, were airlifted to a nearby hospital within an hour. While the devastating encounter shocked everyone, the little boy’s attitude was what truly surprised bystanders.
HE KEPT REPEATING THE SAME WORDS
Throughout the ordeal, Jameson Jr. repeated a significant phrase, and his family believed his faith was what helped him fight. Jameson Jr. never stopped saying: “Jesus will save me, Jesus will save me.”
The youngster’s uncle, Joshua Reeder, also shared an unforgettable moment that occurred while he was on the phone with his brother, Jameson Sr. Joshua shared:
“Jameson [Sr.] was on the phone saying he [saw] the chopper lifting his son and wife. As I heard him saying this, [I heard] his other kids singing, ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’”
Family friend James Miller revealed the tense and anxious atmosphere in the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital as the family waited for news about their precious child. He said: “It’s a miracle he’s alive. You hear about shark bites, but they’re so rare.”
The little boy needed surgery, and there were not many favorable options. However, the family remained grateful Jameson Jr.’s life was spared and that they weren’t preparing for a funeral. Joshua recalled:
“[Doctors] had to remove/amputate from just below the knee to save his life as it was not operable from the damage the shark had caused. They said the shark made the decision for him.”
THE YOUNGSTER WAS IN GOOD SPIRITS
While many other kids might’ve struggled to smile after such a harrowing ordeal, Jameson Jr. was different. His infectious positivity didn’t falter, and he encouraged everyone around him.
Life would never be the same again, and he needed another surgery—but because of his faith in God, Jameson Jr. had hope for the future. Joshua expressed how proud their family was of the youngster, and he said:
“Jameson Jr. is already setting up goals for himself like the incredible young boy he is. While you can see the shock and emotions in his eyes, you can still see this bright light of positivity shining through.”
THANKFUL FOR THEIR MIRACLE
Joshua and his family flew from Hawaii to Florida to be with the youngster. He revealed that the little boy’s parents were doing well under the circumstances and were confident their son’s life was spared miraculously. The uncle added:
“The more we talk together and learn about the facts of how everything unfolded, the more and more evident it appears that it is a pure miracle he is still alive and with us today.”
PRAYERS AND DONATIONS FOR THE FAMILY
Family and friends created a GiveSendGo fundraising page for Jameson Jr.’s medical costs. The Reeders were in full-time ministry and thankful for any donations. By mid-August 2022, more than $62,000 had been raised.
An entry on the fundraising page stated:
“We are asking for prayers and any additional financial help to support this family as they recover both physically and mentally. One thing we know is Jameson Jr.’s fearless faith in God carried him.”
A LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY
The page included a list of pressing and upcoming developments. Doctors were still determining the best pain management for Jameson Jr. and hoped he could begin physical therapy shortly. An entry on the family’s GiveSendGo page continued:
“Please keep covering Jameson [Sr.] and Mary in prayer for their strength of heart and mind. Lastly, continue to pray for sweet Jameson Jr. as he enters into the journey of physical therapy.”
THE ONLINE SUPPORT
The Reeder family was immensely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends, family, and strangers. Numerous kind and caring people offered their assistance, thoughts, and prayers:
“Praying so hard for you all. Begging God for protection and healing. Please keep us updated.”
– (Alicia Wolfe) August 14, 2022
“I sit here with tears and cannot imagine how heavy your hearts are and your poor son, but he has such a strong spirit for Jesus he will get through this. God bless all of you.”
– (Joan Cole-Harrell) August 14, 2022
“Sending all the love and hugs and prayers to the whole Reeder family. God is going to make a powerful testimony for Jameson Jr. to share for the rest of his life! Love you all deeply!”
– (Shelley White Makohon) August 14, 2022
“God takes our deepest tragedies and turns them into a total triumph of His grace. Praying for Jameson and the whole Reeder family.”
– (Stephanie Reinhart) August 15, 2022
Jameson Jr. is a special boy, and his survival story will undoubtedly encourage many people. The road to recovery is not over yet, and we send heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the brave youngster and his family during this challenging time.
Click here to read about another little fighter who came back stronger after a nightmarish shark attack. She displayed unbelievable strength and started to walk one day after her amputation!