NewsPinellas County


Winter inspired many, teaching a lesson of resilience

Lennyn Lyonsn with Winter 1.JPG
Posted at 7:23 PM, Nov 12, 2021

Right here in the Bay Area so many are holding on to the lessons and inspiration Winter the Dolphin gave.

Winter died Thursday night before going into surgery to treat an intestinal blockage.

“I got so much inspiration seeing the story of how Winter recovered,” said Danielle Kanas.

Winter’s story of survival keeps 16-year-old Danielle Kanas motivated. Danielle's arm was amputated when she was just a baby.

Her mother said Danielle saw herself in Winter, who lost her tail in a crab trap line. Experts crafted a prosthetic that saved her life.

“They both lost a part when they were tiny babies. They both found new forever families because Danielle is adopted from China and they both don’t really like to wear their prothesis that much,” Joanne Kanas said.

Danielle said being able to meet Winter is a day she’ll always cherish. The aspiring para-Olympian says Winter taught her anything is possible.

“She had this will to keep trying and not give up,” she said.

Like Dannielle, many children facing adversity feel a strong connection to Winter.

“That’s the hardest part. I’ve been crying like a baby for 24 hours, but its more for them and what Winter meant to them,” said David Yates, Former Clearwater Marine Aquarium Ceo & Dolphin Tale producer.

David Yates worked with winter for 14 years at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. He said she was so much more than just a movie star.

“My best memories from my perspective of winter are just the fighting spirit she had and tens of thousands of kids that I got to watch her work with,” Yates said.

One of those kids was Lennyn Lyons. Lennyn was born premature and diagnosed with hydrocephalus, meaning she had fluid on her brain.

“We were told that there’s a really good chance that she wasn’t going to be able to walk because of the damage to her brain,” said Brianna Lyons, Lennyn’s mother.

ABC Action News was there as Lennyn beat the odds, taking her first steps. After seeing our story CMA invited the toddler to meet winter.

“Winter’s story of nothing is impossible and with the right team and the right family and love and support and working hard you can overcome any challenge thrown your way,” Lyons said.