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Keather's Dolphin Tale

Patient Selected for Surprise Virtual Experience and Trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Amid these crazy COVID-19 times, we constantly look for opportunities to celebrate or share a little bit of joy and cheer with our patients around the hospital. Thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we were recently able to surprise Patient Ambassador Keather with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Keather has been a patient at the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital since 2016, when she sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident. Over the years, she has gotten to know several staff members who know her for her interest in science, math, robotics and marine biology.

When the Clearwater Marine Aquarium approached the hospital’s staff with a dream opportunity to surprise a patient with a Virtual Reality 360 Experience headset and an all-expense-paid trip to Clearwater, Florida, to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in person (at a later date), we knew who we needed to ask! Keather came to the top of the lists of patients that would thoroughly appreciate such a memorable experience.

Keather was nearly speechless, and her mother was overwhelmed with emotion when we presented them with the gift basket with the headset, trip and a few other goodies during one of her recent appointments.

“Thank you, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, for this life-changing opportunity," said Keather. “Marine biology is something that I always wanted to do since I was little. So being able to know how the job actually works is going to be such a great experience.”

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a nonprofit working marine animal hospital and aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. It is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured marine life, environmental education, research and conservation. They are also known to be the home of Winter the Dolphin and the Dolphin Tale films! In addition to offering this experience to the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a long-standing friend/partner to our organization, as Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida is located nearby.

In addition to visiting the aquarium, Keather will also have the opportunity to meet with marine biologists and discuss the possibility of joining their volunteer program when she graduates high school next year.


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