Inspirational

Stories

Inspirational

Stories

Inspirational girl with prosthetic arm touching Winter's tail

Inspirational

Stories

Girl on deck touching dolphin

Maddi Bertrand

17-year-old Maddi recently visited Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet her inspirational heroes, Winter and Hope. She was born with a genetic disease called cystic fibrosis (CF). This disease primarily affects the lungs and the pancreas. There is no cure for CF yet, and it is progressive. Because of this, Maddi usually goes to the hospital 3-4 times a year for a “tune-up” just to stay as healthy as possible. Despite her condition, she is still strong and driven to help others.

Inspirational kids on the dolphin platform

Bernadette Scarduzio

Bernadette Scarduzio was born with the most common inherited disease that no one has ever heard of: Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) syndrome. CMT is the number one hereditary neuropathy in the world, affecting 1 in 2,500 people or nearly 2.6 million worldwide.

 

Inspirational kids with dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Braedon Monthony

Braedon Monthony from New York is a dual, below-knee amputee who lost his legs due to a viral infection shortly after he was born.  Now seven years old, Braedon deeply identifies with Winter’s tale of triumph, stating, “She’s just like me!”

 

Caroline Kole standing in front of Dolphin Tale poster

Caroline Kole

Singer. Songwriter. Floridian. Dolphin fan. Caroline Kole grew up near Clearwater Marine Aquarium and has seen it blossom into the facility it is today — and it’s had a major impact on her life.

 

Lisa Sellan on the deck at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Lisa Sellan

“When you see the Dolphin Tale movies, you can’t help but just feel something. I just had to go visit this dolphin. It’s kind of amazing, but the prosthetic company I work with happens to be the same prosthetic company that helped Winter. When we went (to the aquarium), it was just the most amazing thing ever!” – Lisa Sellan

Milo Hill, an inspirational little boy visiting Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Milo Hill

Meet Milo Hill of St Petersburg, Florida, a 5-year-old boy with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

Milo was diagnosed when he was 3 years old and has been in steady treatment for two years.  He has chemo every night at home, receives IV chemo once a month at the hospital and every 90 days has a spinal tap.

Claire Logue visiting Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Claire Logue

The story of Winter and Hope inspired 11-year-old Claire so much that she decided to donate money to CMA to help animals in need.

CMA trainer and Cassidy, a child with spastic quadriplegia visiting Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Cassidy-Rae Luebbering

Cassidy-Rae was born 10 weeks early and was in the NICU for 51 days. She is now 7 years old. She has spastic quadriplegia, severe hearing loss, a g-tube and developmental disabilities. She cannot say very many things and has high blood pressure.

“Whenever we see Dolphin Tale, she gets so excited. Cassidy-Rae relates to Winter because she is in a wheelchair and has several pieces of special equipment. Every time she watches the movie, she makes all kinds of sounds, which is just music to our ears. I think she just has a bond with (Hope and Winter).” – Cassidy-Rae’s Mom

Maja and Rosie with prosthetic legs

Maja Kazazic

After moving to Clearwater, Maja began coming to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and started following the story of Winter, the dolphin without a tail. She began to feel Winter was the animal version of herself. Both had traumatic injuries, lost part of themselves and had prosthetics. Beyond that, from the time Maja was five years old, she had dreamed of seeing a dolphin in person.

Lorie Sparks dancing in a wheelchair

Lorie Sparks

Despite facing adversity, Lorie Sparks is inspired by Winter to do amazing things — like finishing college and competing in wheelchair ballroom dance competitions!

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