Prosthetic Limbs on Land & Sea

There is a kinship in shared experience, as people with congenital limb loss and amputees know well. But a story out of Florida about a dolphin with a prosthetic tail meeting a little British boy, a double amputee, really touched those of us who work in prosthetics.

Winter, the dolphin made famous as the star of the movie Dolphin Tale, has won the hearts of people around the world. Cieran Kelso, an eight-year-old from England, identified with the challenge faced by the dolphin on a very personal level since he had lost both his legs below the knee following an illness when he was younger.

According to reports, Cieran calls himself Winter’s biggest fan. His father says that while his son watched Dolphin Tale he proclaimed, “Winter’s disabled, just like me.”

When Cieran was a toddler, he contracted meningitis, which claimed both legs below the knee and several fingertips. Over the years, the boy has enjoyed soccer and other sports with his peers, but swimming well was a challenge.

His father worked with a certified prosthetist to design swim flippers and the result was great: Cieran’s custom-designed prosthetic flippers let him swim expertly in the water just like the dolphin he adores.

Imagine the joy for this little boy when tourism officials from the United Kingdom and the United States worked together to arrange a trip from England to Florida, complete with a private swim session with Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

In August of this year, Cieran’s dream came true. He got to meet the dolphin he had watched countless times in the movie–the very mammal he idolizes and the inspiration for his life-changing custom swimming prosthesis.

For an hour, Cieran swam with Winter and her trainer in a tank, the boy with his blue swim flippers decorated in neon green stripes and the dolphin with her famous prosthetic tail.

At the end of his special visit with Winter, Cieran pronounced that the time he got to spend with his her was, “Greater than great.”

Watching the video and witnessing the difference that custom-made prosthesis have made in their lives, we cannot agree more. It is greater than great.

Need help with custom-designed prosthetic services for a child or teenager? Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics has over 20 locations in Northern Michigan and has provided expert service to adolescents and their families for over four decades. We accept a wide variety of health insurance plans and can work out an extended payment plan to cover most care.

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