After being inspired by Winter the Dolphin, an 8-year-old boy's emotional reaction in a YouTube video gets him up close and personal with his favorite marine mammal.
Damian Moore had good reason to shed tears of joy in the YouTube video posted by his parents that's gotten more than 15,000 clicks. It brought him to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium all the way from Marion, Iowa.
Damian is a huge fan of Winter. In fact, Winter is somewhat of an idol to him. Damian was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, a condition where his left femur is 75 percent shorter than normal. As a result, he has had to wear a prosthetic device, which he calls a helper, on his left leg for most of his life.
"She's just like me," Damian said. "Her tail is just like her leg, and I have a helper for my leg too."
Damian's mother, Lisa Moore, says Winter inspires her son. She is also extremely inspired by her son.
"To see someone who can adapt and overcome circumstances like that, it's just amazing," Moore said. "He's worn a helper prosthetic since he was 8 months old and never complains about it."
On his trip, Damian not only got to see Winter, but he got to hold her helper prosthetic.
Christopher Moore, Damian's father, said seeing his son with Winter's tail was incredible.
"He had a hold of her prosthetic, what helps her," he said.
Perhaps the most exciting part of Damian Moore's day was getting to have a little fun with Winter in her pool. Damian was able to stretch with the dolphin and give Winter a snack. The two even had a friendly water fight.
"The dolphins were splashing me," said Damian. "I didn't know I was going to get to meet Winter. I thought I was just going to see her through glass. I actually got to feed her and stuff."
Seeing Winter in person was certainly motivation for Damian. He is scheduled to have surgery on his leg next month. He will be in a cast from the waist down for 6-8 weeks.