Cieran Kelso, a 8-year-old boy from Great Britain, who lost his both legs because of meningitis is training now to become a Paralympics swimmer with Winter, a dolphin with artificial flipper.
The little boy lost the bottom part of his both legs, but he never gave up his dream to be a professional swimmer. He would have liked to swim with his friends but he had troubles keeping his balance in the water.
Cieran’s father, Gary Kelso found a method so he could attach flippers to his son’s prosthesis and in this manner the boy was able to swim again. The family raised money for this special prosthetic fitted with flippers, which were custom-made.
Cieran decided he wanted to be a Paralympics champion at swimming and he became obsessed with a documentary about a dolphin, Winter, who was left without tail, but learnt to swim with a prosthetic tail. The documentary movie was “Dolphin Tale” and “Winter’s disabled just like me” were the first words of the little boy after seeing the movie, says Gary, the boy’s father.
A travel agency offered to help the boy without legs to meet his idol. Hereby the two of them met and even swam together in an aquatic park from the US. Therefore the boy left England and flew to Florida in order to swim with his favorite dolphin, from Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The dolphin used a prosthetic tale, while the double amputee boy also used prosthetic flippers. They had something big in common and they bonded immediately. However, the father says that “there are some pretty raw feelings that go into seeing Cieran swim with the dolphin”.
The Kelso family is from Northwich, Cheshire, and they kept the surprise trip a secret from the boy until the day they had to fly to Florida. It was the flight attendants who announced the surprise visit to the home of Winter, Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The happening was organized by a tourism agency at Visit St Pete/Clearwater.
Therefore the double amputee little boy had the chance to swim with his favorite character from a movie, but also to train for the Paralympics with Winter, the amazing tail-less dolphin.