Monthly Archives: July 2013

Winter the Dolphin Inspires Persons With Disabilities

Here's Winter the Dolphin_0003

During a 30th wedding anniversary trip, my husband and I visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter, the dolphin featured in the hit move The Dolphin’s Tale.   That’s us in the picture holding one of Winter’s prostheses.  I have visited Winter three times in 12 months.  As a late-deafened person who uses cochlear implants (considered prosthetic devices), I find her so inspiring.  I want to share her story with you.

Winter was just a baby when she suffered a traumatic injury which caused her to lose her tail.  Without a tale, Winter would suffer cumulative spinal cord damage that would eventually kill her.   To keep that from happening, Dan Strzempka, of Bradenton’s (my home town) Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, developed the first dolphin prosthetic tale ever for Winter.   Her survival of the traumatic tail loss and her acceptance of the prosthetic were not guaranteed.  But Winter not only survived…she thrived!  Her pluck and determination in the face of a very long road to recovery was nothing short of miraculous.  Because Winter refused to give up on herself, she touched many lives along the way. People with disabilities come from all over to see her and to revel in the hope and inspiration her story exemplifies.  She inspires and encourages me.

You can see Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or by visiting the Aquarium’s web cam

The sequel movie Dolphin Tale 2 has just been green lighted with principal photography to begin this October.  I will watch it.  Many times.

Has anybody else been moved by Winter’s story?

Governor’s Hurricane Conference Week 7/16

GHClogo2We are in the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season—a time when all of us should be considering what to do BEFORE disaster happens.  Toward that goal, we wanted to share with you a recent presentation from the Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  The presentation, “Real World Planning for Persons with Access & Functional Needs…Before the Official Disaster Declaration” gives great insight into access and functional needs of individuals who may be in need of assistance.  Our own Valerie Stafford-Mallis was part of this great group presentation and can answer any questions you may have.

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