Monday, 23 March 2009


It was amazing; Danielle never used to show signs of anticipation of a trip or meeting someone new, but I had been telling her about our new adventure for a while and on the day we left to swim with the dolphins the excitement was all over her face.
The actual people at the dolphin discovery centre were great and so helpful. At the dolphin discovery centre you experience swimming with the dolphins in the wild, if you can swim you can go out on the boat and get in the water with the dolphins, as Danielle is unable to swim we just held her with us in the water and on some occasions a pod of 20 to 30 dolphins would swim around and under us, Danielle would be calm but smiling each time we went out and when we arrived back she would laugh and giggle. Other days if people cannot swim the beach is also a place where the dolphins come to visit and you can walk out to waist depth and they come in and swim around you. This was actually just as amazing! One day they came up and touched Danielle’s leg and then just stayed a while looking at her. Another day they came swam around us and the hovered in front of Danielle looking at her and you could actually feel the sonar pulses they send out, some say they do this to heal, but others don't believe in that.
We have seen many positive changes in Danielle. She has no speech but we heard her say her first word, at first were shocked, then we just cried and wanted her to say it again, and even though it didn't happen, it was still amazing! Although we would love to tell you what that word was, it was a swear word, and 'no' we do not regularly encourage the use of swear words with our children and would normally tell them so, well that all went out the window as you can imagine. When we did tell her 'that’s very clever, it's fantastic' we also said 'ooooh that’s a naughty word' and with that she fell about laughing! She knew it was naughty too! Danielle is also a child who could not stand with out us helping but soon she was standing holding onto a chair with us ready behind her, every day brang new and positive things.
When we finally came home the physio's and her teachers at school also noticed positive differences with Danielle’s progression and she just carried on achieving more goals. We are not saying she was never ill again or never had another set back because that would be untrue, but today we still have her with us and she is 14yrs old. She has come so far and she is still very happy, she continues to say an odd word when she wants to but never said that one again!
Together myself, Dan, Sally and Dave were so overwhelmed by ours and our family’s experiences and the positive affects that both Aaron and Danielle gained from swimming with dolphins that we also want to help other families to experience what we have.


Well we had heard so much about the positive changes it had made to many children and especially Aaron that we wanted to give this opportunity to Danielle, and also for Drew and Timara to experience it with her, as they had been through many experiences in life would be too much at times for even an adult to deal with. This experience was about being a family and being together. We would actually be able to enjoy quality time together having the most unforgettable experiences of swimming with the dolphins. We decided to have our trip over Christmas and New Year, as we had never spent a complete Christmas and New Year together, because the cold winters in the UK meant Danielle was always in hospital

Our Story

We are a family of five; myself Karan, my husband Dan, Drew who’s 17, Danielle who is 14 and Timara who is 11. Danielle has a rare syndrome called Wolf Hirshhorn which affects her in many ways both mentally and physically, she attends a special needs school, but she is the happiest, funniest and most loving individual.
We had our son Drew and all was well, then in April 1994 Danielle was born and it took a year to get an actual diagnosis of her condition. We, as many other families with specific syndromes or conditions were given the worst news and told we would be lucky if she lived to reach her first birthday. Even if she reached a year, we were told that age 3, then age 7, and then the teens were very dangerous milestones. But we learnt to cope. Yes it was tough and it meant we had to care for her needs 24 7 but our view was, we would have to do the same for any baby or young child, she just needed a little extra. We bravely went on to have our daughter Timara who was all ok. We have three beautiful children who we would not change for the world.
As time went on we heard about a family at Danielle’s school who had taken their son to swim with the dolphins. We managed to meet one day when collecting our children from school and from that moment on our lives changed. Sally explained how she had fund raised to take her son Aaron to swim with the dolphins, how amazing it was and how much of a positive change it made to Aaron and their whole family. We felt so positive about doing the same for Danielle that we began to write to charities and fund raise for ourselves with the help of family, friends and Sally. We began to also develop a great friendship and it felt like we had known each other and our families for ever. We finally raised enough money for us as a family to go and swim with the dolphins in Australia. It was a place called the 'Dolphin Discovery Centre' in Bunbury, Western Australia.