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A Lifelong Dream Made Reality

Lindsey swims with Akai, the dolphin

“ A day that none of us will forget. ”


- Lindsey's mother

Since she was two, Lindsey has wanted to swim with dolphins. It's been a lifelong dream for this wish kid diagnosed with a complicated heart condition that has required multiple surgeries and hospital stays . At ten years old, Lindsey already knows what she wants to do when she grows up -- she wants to be a marine biologist and trainer. Without hesitation, Lindsey eagerly made her wish -- she wanted to be a dolphin trainer for a day.

Lindsey could barely contain her excitement for her trip. So excited that at Thanksgiving – for a school project – she wrote her list of things for which she was thankful. The top three:

  1. I am thankful for God because he gave me an amazing life!
  2. I am thankful for my family and friends because they love me for me.
  3. I am thankful for Make-A-Wish for making my dream come true.

In December, Lindsey's wish came true as she traveled from her home in Lower Burrell, PA, with her mom, dad, sister and brother to Discovery Cove Orlando to swim with dolphins.

Lindsey’s dolphin adventure started with meeting Patrick, her own personal dolphin trainer who would guide her day. Knowing Lindsey had career aspirations for his type of job, Patrick gave Lindsey and her family a guided tour behind the scenes at the dolphin area, sharing interesting facts (like trainers start at 4 a.m. every day to weigh and bucket fish for the 44 dolphins in their care).

Lindsey’s dolphin was a gentle 35-year-old male named Akai. Lindsey was able to touch and feed Akai and join him for backside and bellyside rides around the lagoon, as well as pose for pictures.  Akai and one of his pals, Roxy, treated the entire family to foot pushes – floating on your stomach with your feet behind you while the dolphins push your feet with their noses. Mom said it was tricky but a huge thrill.

While the best part of the day was her dolphin encounters, some of Lindsey’s other adventures at Discovery Cove included meeting an armadillo, a pygmy marmoset and an anteater, feeding river otters, touching sharks and swimming and snorkeling with thousands of fish and stingrays.

In her letter to Make-A-Wish, Lindsey’ mom said ‘it was a perfect day – a day none of us will forget.”  

  • Kissing a dolphin

  • Lindsey and her family with trainer Patrick at the Dolphin Cove

  • Lindsey with two dolphins

  • A happy Lindsey

  • Lindsey and her sister

  • Getting ready to ride the dolphin

  • Lindsey and her sister ride the dolphins

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June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

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