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Posted January 21, 2009
Clearwater Marine Aquarium Brings the Ocean to ACH Patients

Prosthetics are nothing new at All Children's Hospital. Artificial limbs are part of life for some young patients. But it's not everyday the patients get to check out a prosthetic dolphin tail.

That's what made a recent visit from representatives of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium such a special treat. Patients well enough to leave their rooms gathered in All Children's second floor playroom to watch a video about the Aquarium's star inhabitant, Winter the dolphin, who lost her tail due to damage from fishing line. CMA's efforts to fit Winter with an artificial tail have garnered national media attention and may well lead to innovations in prosthetic design for humans as well.

Eight-year old Cailyn had a chance to hold one of the prosthetic tails that Winter has already outgrown. She agreed it felt kind of funny, almost like gummy bears. Other patients enjoyed the opportunity to see and touch the four-foot shell of a loggerhead turtle.

The visit was part of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's mission of hands-on education to encourage respect for our environment and the creatures that share it. But for youngsters facing their own physical challenges, the story of Winter the dolphin is truly inspirational as well.