If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check out “Dolphin Tale”, a new family film from Universal Studios about a young dolphin named Winter who loses her tail in a crab trap, basically leaving her an “aquatic amputee”. The hero of the story is taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and learns how to swim again with the help of a pioneering doctor who creates a unique prosthetic to restore her tail fin function.
Three things make this a movie worth seeing. First of all, it’s a true story. Winter plays herself in the film, and she was actually rescued by marine biologists at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a struggling rescue center that occupied the city’s old sewage treatment plant. An out-of-the-box doctor actually did engineer an aquatic orthotic that allowed the otherwise dependent dolphin to swim again.
Second, there’s an obvious parallel between what Winter endures losing her mobility and learning to regain it and what many of our customers have experienced over the course of their mobility loss. A little ingenuity and a lot of determination can get anyone where they need to go, and our customers know this…whether they are living with an amputation, recovering from a spinal cord injury or dealing with a progressive disease. One of the film’s central characters is a young veteran who is struggling to cope with a leg amputation. He finds strength and hope in Winter’s story, but so did dozens…maybe hundreds…of real-life veterans and children who visited the marine center to meet Winter and see how her new “mobility equipment” changed her life. In fact, the film ends with footage of these visitors as they interact, and in some cases, get to swim with Winter at the Clearwater facility.
And the final reason this film gets a thumbs up from us…a BraunAbility Entervan makes a cameo appearance! A young amputee makes a trip in her wheelchair van to visit Winter, and she’s one of the first characters that helps the audience make the visual connection between what Winter has overcome and what thousands of individuals with disabilities work to overcome on a daily basis.
A Dolphin Tale is a sweet, inspirational movie – even more so when you work in the mobility industry. The film was released on Sept. 23rd, and aside from Winter, it also stars Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. Check it out if you get the chance! And the Oscar for Best Supporting Performance by a Mobility Vehicle goes to our BraunAbility Entervan…