CLEARWATER, Fla. — Angelina Daugastio is one of the many people who volunteer at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. For her, it all started years ago when she first saw Dolphin Tale and her interest grew from there.
“I started to watch her through a live cam that they used to have,” Angelina said. “And I could see her and I said hello to her.”
Angelina and her family were living in New York at the time, but her mother soon realized that the connection her daughter had with Winter wasn't just special, it was vital. Suffering from a painful and terrible condition, Angelina also battled severe depression. Add to that, she’s on the autism spectrum. So the family moved to Clearwater, putting all their hopes and Angelina’s health on a Dolphin Tale.
“This dolphin saved my life!” Angelina said.
For the last nine years Angelina has given her time talking to and caring for Winter and in return she says Winter gave her the will to live.
“The fact that she lived past the day that they found her, is a miracle,” Angelina said. “And that's something that I will never even be able to be strong enough to do. She gives me hope every day that I can.”
And although Winter has passed, Angelina plans to continue volunteering.
“Even if people can't see her now, when you come to the aquarium, when you visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, she's here. She is here.”