ck in July, Eugene Finney was vacationing in Huntington Beach with his two children.They’d travelled there from Massachusetts for a few days when Finney had a very close call that turned into a blessing in disguise.
While Finney was swimming, a shark smashed into him in shallow water. It wasn’t an attack; there were no bite marks, and by all accounts it appeared to be an accidental encounter, but it left him with a long cut down the middle of his back and a very sore neck.
The mark left by the shark. Photo: Eugene Finney/CBS Boston
“Something struck me from behind. I’d never been hit like that before,” he told CBS Boston. “It was pretty jarring. It kind of gave me an instant whiplash.” Shortly afterwards, the beach was closed when two sharks were seen in the area. Finney, however, didn’t immediately think much of the incident. Although a little rattled, he didn’t think he needed to go to the hospital. Later on, though, things got a little more painful, and he decided to head to St. Elizabeth’s and get checked out. It turned out to be a very smart decision.
“The pain was caused by interior bruising of the thoracic cavity due to blunt force trauma,” Finney told CBS. “They had discovered a growth, or a tumor, on my right kidney about the size of a walnut.”
As it turned out, the growth was cancer. A few months after the incident, Finney went in for a relatively easy surgery that took the tumor out. He credits his run in with the shark as the thing that saved his life. “If this didn’t happen with the shark, causing me to go in with this chest pain, I would have never known about this cancer,” he said.
Finney’s outlook is about as good as you can get. After the surgery, doctors decided that no other measures were necessary. But had it not been for his run in with the shark, he may not have found the tumor before it was too late.