CLEARWATER, Florida — A New Orleans family was able to meet two movie stars who have come to symbolize hope in their lives on Monday: the dolphins Winter and Hope at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. 

  • Retired Police Sergeant Kristi Bagneris injured in line of duty
  • 17 surgeries unable to successfully repair damage
  • Bagneris underwent leg amputation 6 months ago

Kristi Bagneris is a retired Sergeant with the New Orleans Police Department. Her husband is also a police officer. 

Three years ago, she was injured in the line of duty. She was responding to a domestic violence call and severely broke her ankle.

Bagneris underwent seventeen surgeries to repair the break, but they all failed. It was determined that the best option would be amputating her leg.

Six months ago she underwent that surgery. Rehabilitation followed. 

Bagneris told us at first she was crushed to realize her career was over. But the hardest part of the amputation was telling her children about it.

“The first thing they said was, ‘you’re just like Winter’ and it was at that moment that I realized everything was going to be okay," said Bagneris.

The family's visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium was a surprise for Bagneris's three children. The special day started off with two Clearwater Police officers greeting them upon their arrival. 

Then they received an bigger surprise: a meet and greet session with Hope and Winter.

“Winter, she never gave up," said Kristi's daughter, Danielle. "And so we just thought, you know what? We shouldn’t give up on our mom. She shouldn’t give up. So we just have hope.”