It hasn’t even been two weeks since 16-year-old Hunter Treschl lost his arm in a shark attack – but the upbeat teenager from Colorado is already back to texting with his friends and playing basketball.
“He was visiting my mom in North Carolina when I got a phone call that he had been attacked,” his mother, Sarah Treschl, 39, tells PEOPLE. “I got on the next flight from Denver and haven’t left his side since.”
The teen, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, was in Oak Island when he went walking into waist-high water for about a minute to rinse off some sand, and then everything happened “very, very quickly.”
“I saw the shark on my left arm,” he told Good Morning America on Thursday. “It was halfway up my bicep, kind of. It just attached and then it wasn’t attached anymore.”
But the tragic incident isn’t going to slow Hunter down – by the end of next week, he is planning to return to Colorado.
“He has his final surgery next Monday to close his wounds,” Sarah says. “He is so optimistic and forward-thinking. He just cant wait to go home and live his life. He told me that this isn’t going to change anything. It will stay the same as it was before it happened. He is the toughest kid I know.”
Treschl, who is left-handed, lost his left arm and is now practicing and learning how to use his right hand for everything.
His proud mom says she couldn’t ask for a better son.
“I’m very lucky to have him,” she says. “As a family, we are really good at talking to each other, and I think that’s helped us a lot. We communicate really well.”
Another thing that has helped them on their road to recovery has been support from people around the world.
“We have such gratitude for all of the emails, texts and financial donations we have received,” she says. “It’s really overwhelming. We just want to thank everyone.”
A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.
Sarah says that her son has always thought about things in a very rational and scientific way, and for that reason, he no fear of getting back into the ocean.
“He is not driven by fear,” she says. “He knows the chance of being attacked by a shark is very rare.”
But if she has any say in the matter, he’ll remain on dry land
“He is never going in the ocean again,” she says, laughing.