Swimming with dolphins dream becomes reality

Joe and his parents Joseph and Marlene swim with dolphins in Florida thanks to the Starlight Children's Foundation
Joe and his parents Joseph and Marlene swim with dolphins in Florida thanks to the Starlight Children's Foundation

An eleven-year-old boy with autism and muscular dystrophy has had his dream of swimming with dolphins come true.

Joe Fullwood, of Benington, has just enjoyed a trip to Florida with his parents Marlene and Joseph thanks to the Starlight Children’s Foundation - the UK’s leading wish granting charity for young people with serious and terminal illness.

Joe was diagnosed with autism when he was four-years-old and has always had problems walking. In 2014, he was diagnosed with duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition which causes severe muscle weakness.

As a result of his condition, he falls over easily and has to use a wheelchair for long distances.

Mum Marlene said: “It took a long time for doctors to diagnose Joe but thankfully he is doing really well and can still manage to walk a short distance which is very good for someone with duchenne muscular dystrophy although he’s having to use his wheelchair on a regular basis.”

Joe is described as ‘a charming and loving child who never complains about anything’.

He enjoys playing with Lego, swimming and going to John Fielding School in Boston where his favourite subject is geography.

He has a good knowledge of countries, capital cities and flags and he has always wanted to travel to America.

So when Joe was referred to Starlight for a wish he knew exactly what he would choose – to visit Disney World in Orlando, America and to swim with dolphins.

Starlight set about making Joe’s dream come true and arranged for he and his parents to fly to America where they stayed for a week in the Give Kids The World Village.

The Village is near the Disney World attractions so Joe got to meet some of Joe’s favourite Disney characters.

Joe’s highlight was the trip to Discovery Cove where he got to see dolphins in real life for the first time and spend time with them in the 
water.