Life can be hard when you’re different. Just ask 7-year-old Braedon Monthony from New York. Shortly after he was born, the little boy was dealt a bad hand. He lost both of his legs due to a viral infection.
His disability hasn’t prevented Braedon from living life to the fullest. He still cycles, swims, and makes the most of every day.
Braedon’s difference is also the source of his strength and perseverance. His mother claims a dolphin called Winter inspired her son.
When Winter was only two months old her life changed forever. The marine mammal became entangled in a crab trap line. A fisherman found her stranded in Mosquito Lagoon, near Cape Canaveral, Florida.
She was cut free and transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Her injuries were extensive. The line had cut off the blood supply to Winter’s tail. Most dolphins caught in crab trap lines die of their wounds. Against the odds, Winter survived. Yet despite exhaustive efforts, they could not save her tail.
Tails are the powerhouse of the dolphin. They propel the sea mammals through the water. If Winter couldn’t swim, how could she survive?
Country music singer Jimmy Dean once said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
In a nutshell, that’s exactly what Winter did. She learned to adapt to her circumstances and adopt a new swim pattern.
It was a long road to recovery for Winter, but she learned to swim and eat fish on her own.
Winter now lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. Many visitors to the aquarium are inspired by her plight. She is a paragon of perseverance. Hollywood even made a film about her called The Dolphin Tale.
Braedon was one of the millions who saw the film. When he first laid eyes on the remarkable dolphin, he identified deeply with her. The little boy said to his mother, “She’s just like me.”
Determined to meet his hero, the double-amputee sold lemonade to fund his trip to Florida. He raised $4,000, and his dream came true on March 28th, 2016. The meeting between Winter and Braedon was an emotional one.
Seeing in the flesh how Winter had adjusted to life without her tail motivated Braedon. He vowed then and there to work harder with his own prostheses. He told his mom, “If Winter can, so can I.”
Winter’s tale has given thousands of youngsters the courage to be different. She is a shining example of how strength of spirit can conquer all.