Florida aquarium surprises Indiana patient


Photo: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WEHT)- As part of a monthlong effort to bring its rescued dolphins into the homes of children with medical conditions, Clearwater Marine Aquarium surprised Indiana teen Ayden Wagler, 13, with a unique opportunity.

Wagler received a gift package Thursday night that includes a virtual reality headset to see the aquarium’s dolphins, including two dolphins from the Dolphin Tale movies. Wagler also received a free flight for herself and two guardians, a free hotel stay, free admission to the aquarium, and other gifts.

Wagler was diagnosed a rare condition known as neurofibromatosis and pseudarthrosis when she was just eight months old. Neurofibromatosis is a rare condition found in one in every 3,000 children and causes tumors inside and outside the body. Five percent of neurofibromatosis patients also develop pseudarthrosis, a condition that causes spontaneous bone fractures.

One of Wagler’s legs was amputated when she was just three years old when it became clear a fracture would not heal properly. Wagler is a patient at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.

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(This story was originally published on October 23, 2020)


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