SeaWorld dolphin trainer Joy Clausen hosted nine young patients from Rady Children’s Hospital for a special Dolphin Interaction at SeaWorld San Diego.
The youngsters, ranging in age from 6 to 18, were able to take a break from their health issues and enjoy a fun and relaxing time with the dolphins -- laughing, splashing and giving kisses. Joy, a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, wanted to share the incredible experience of being in the water with dolphins because she knows exactly what it’s like to deal with a life-threatening illness. Nine years ago, she underwent chemotherapy at a Children’s Hospital, where she would cheer up the kids by telling them about her work with dolphins. She vowed that when she got well and returned to work, she would invite children to come and share her world.
“When they are in the water with the dolphins, all they think about is having fun. It takes their minds off what they are going through,” said Joy. “They are fighting for their lives. I like to show them that I was once where they are and nine years later, you’d never know I was sick. And now, here I am working my dream job.”
The Dolphin Interaction for the kids is part of SeaWorld’s ongoing partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital. Each year, SeaWorld hosts a fund-raising walk at the park to benefit the hospital’s life-saving efforts. The 2010 SeaWorld Shamu & You Family Walk will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. To find out more, or register as a team or an individual, visit ShamuAndYouWalk.com. Last year’s walk drew nearly 3,000 participants and raised about $200,000.