We’ve all heard the story of Winter — the dolphin who, after sustaining injuries to her tail, received a prosthetic tail after hers was amputated. Her story was made into a movie, Dolphin Tale, released in 2011.
The story was an inspiration to many, especially to one Laveen child who understands what it is like to live with prostheses.
Fernanda Rubio was three years old when she contracted bacterial meningitis. Over the course of six months, she underwent a kidney transplant, multiple surgeries, and the amputation of both legs below the knee.
“She wouldn’t wear her prostheses or cooperate with her therapists,” her mother Edith Rubio explained.
That was until the movie Dolphin Tale was released.
“Fernanda soon saw how Winter, also wearing a prosthetic, was able to do so much with it and that inspired her to also learn how to use hers,” Rubio said.
But little did Fernanda know that she would appear in the sequel to the movie that inspired her.
In January, she attended Camp No Limits in Florida. Camp No Limits empowers children with limb loss to become more independent.
Campers visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Winter resides. This just happened to be the same time the crew from Dolphin Tale 2 were on site filming. Dr. Kevin Carol, one of the two original doctors from Hanger Prosthetics that designed Winter’s prosthetic tail, invited Fernanda to meet Winter.
The crew filmed her interaction with Winter and included the short clip in the movie due out September 12.
“Meeting Winter was an amazing experience for her,” her mom continued. “Fernanda learned how to use her prostheses because of this dolphin’s inspiration.”
Fernanda and her parents are available for interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Interviews may be scheduled through Kristen Landry at Laveen Elementary School District at the (602) 237-9100 and firstname.lastname@example.org.