Her son was with a friend diving in about 9 feet of water about 150 yards offshore of the San Diego suburb of Encinitas when he was attacked. Witnesses estimated the shark was about 11 feet long, but the type was not known.
A trio of rescuers pulled the badly-bleeding boy to a kayak and applied pressure. He was airlifted to the hospital.
"We got very, very lucky, and we know it, and we are very thankful," Ellie Hayes said alongside her husband and Keane's stepfather, her voice choking as she spoke of how much she loved her son.
Dr. Tim Fairbanks, chief of pediatric surgery at Rady's, said Webre-Hayes remained in serious condition from what he described as a very large and very deep bite that reached the chest wall. It tore his left upper back, shoulder, torso, face and ear but did not damage his vascular system.
"Keane wants you to know he has all his limbs, and he's going to be going home fully intact," Fairbanks said. "We're thrilled to be where we are right now. But we still need to get him across the finish line and get him all the way better."
Hayes was reluctant to speak in detail about the incident but said her son was insistent about wanting to go lobster diving.
"He had said, 'Mom, I'm going to make you a lobster dinner tonight,' so he owes me one," she said.
Hayes said the one word she would choose to describe her son is nice, but she also used brave, strong and athletic.
"He's a warrior," she said. "I didn't know he was that good of a swimmer."