An unlikely bond links a boy and a dolphin as the pair has one unique thing in common– they are both amputees and are excelling, thanks to their prosthetics.
He immediately felt a connection with Winter, the dolphin with a prosthetic tail. Like Winter, he, too, relies on a prosthetic after having both legs amputated due to illness.
During infancy, Braedon suffered from a rare infection. His mom, Elaine Monthony, had to make the hard decision to let the doctors take his legs.
"When they took him away, he would come back without that part of him," Elaine Monthony said to WIVB through sobs.
But Braedon eventually "accepted [the prosthetics] as an extension of his own body," his mom said, and the boy learned how to swim, run and ride a bike.
Similarly, Winter had challenges to overcome before she rose to star in Dolphin Tale.
She was caught in a crab trap at only three months old, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium wrote on their website.
The trap line cut off circulation to her tail, and despite being medically treated, her tail could not be saved and had to be amputated.
Winter now swims with the help of a prosthetic tail.
“We both wear prosthetics and we both lost things we need to use to move," Braedon said, according to WIVB.
Last summer, Braedon was determined to meet the dolphin. According to WIVB, he set up a lemonade stand from his home in Hamburg, New York, where he raised over $200 to contribute to his trip to Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
And once his local news station picked up on the heartfelt cause, supporters flooded in to contribute to his GoFundMe page, where they raised over $4000.
Six months later, Braedon and his family made the trip out to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Braedon even got to swim with the dolphin he relates to so much.
"I learned to jump right in the water with [Winter]," Braedon said. "She was not as slimy as a stingray, but she was slimy."
“It’s very amazing, just to watch,” Braedon's mom said through tears.
“Winter’s story has become a generational-inspiring story. All around the world, we have families from every country who travel here, or go online to watch us, because Winter inspired them,” CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium David Yates said to WIVB, adding the aquarium's motto: "If Winter can, I can."
Winter's message left a lasting impression on the 7-year-old, who said: "My dream is to work at a place where I can help animals."