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Tuesday, 04 August 2009 16:40

Winter the Dolphin Paints with the Children's Cancer Center Kids at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Written by  David Ziff
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Winter the Dolphin Painting at the Clearwater Marine AquariumWhat do children of the Children's Cancer Center and a dolphin have in common? As it turns out, quite a lot!

Had you been at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on July 21, 2009, you might have witnessed an unusual and heart-warming encounter. A group of children, kindergarten-aged and under, sat by the side of a pool producing colorful artwork while a dolphin with a paintbrush in her mouth was producing art of her own. The purpose? To sell the artwork on eBay and raise funds for the Children's Cancer Center.

Both the dolphin and the children have much in common: courage and the ability to rise above physical challenges to smile upon the world. The field trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium was the children's first outing. And clearly it was a huge success. The children were engrossed in their paintings and afterwards proudly posed for photographs with their colorful renderings.

If you visit the web site of the Children's Cancer Cancer (www.childrenscancercenter.org/) you'll be able share in the joy of the chil2009_07_21__winter__childrendsc_0136_136.jpgdren and their parents. Then, if you click on the names of the children (Yan, Rowan Madison, Remi, Paxton, Chloe, Jordan, Allison, Jacob, Trevor and Liam) you will be propelled straight to eBay where you can join the bidding for these inspiring products.

A dolphin named Winter shared the limelight with the children. You may have already heard of Winter, arguably the most famous dolphin, no, most famous animal in the world. Winter's story, like the individual stories of the children, is inspiring. Rescued from a crab trap when but a youngster, she was not expected to live. Triumph #1. She did. As a result of her injuries her tail withered and fell off. Triumph #2. She not only survived the loss of a tail but learned to swim without one to the amazement of one and all. However, it was feared her improvised swimming motion would cause irreparable harm. After countless trial and error Winter was successfully fitted with a prosthetic tail and learned to propel herself in true dolphin style. Triumph #3.

Winter is a hero to many people. Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), on behalf of Winter, receives calls, letters and emails from around the world with a common theme: how much Winter has inspired their own lives. She has appeared not once, not twice but a number of times on network TV, been featured in a documentary entitled, "The Dolphin That Could", a DVD and now a book, "Winter's Tail, How One LittChildren from the Children's Cancer Center at the Clearwater Marine Aquariumle Dolphin Learned to Swim Again." She also has her own website: www.SeeWinter.com

The Childen's Cancer Center (CCC) and CMA are a good example of what happens when two organizations devoted to the public good join forces. In April 2009 the Mike Alstott family (a long time supporter of CCC) arranged for a group of children from the Children's Cancer Center to meet Winter, thus laying the groundwork for this current initiative. Shannon Hannon Oliviero of the CCC remarked: "We're so thankful for Jeni Hatter (CMA's Director of Media Relations) and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium who continually reach out into the community to offer the wonder of their surroundings to brighten the day for others."

Undoubtedly, the children of the Children's Cancer Center can look forward to more delightful outings to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, perhaps even to interact again with CMA's star, Winter, "The Dolphin That Could."

Read 1107 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 August 2009 11:25