I wish to swim with dolphins | Make-A-Wish
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Caitlin Mcfadden Dolphin Swim
I wish to swim with dolphins and give them cuddles


Caitlin, aged 7, lives in Glasgow with her Mum, Pauline. She is living with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and has limited communication and vision. Caitlin's condition means her muscles are stiff and tight (especially when trying to move them quickly), making it difficult to move and reducing her range of movement. To read about Caitlin from her mums perspective click here.

Caitlin loves going to the beach, playing in the sand, building sandcastles with her mum and watching the fish swim! For her wish, Caitlin chose to go on a very special holiday to Albufeira in Portugal to swim with dolphins and give them "kisses and cuddles." Caitlin told us that she couldn’t wait to go in the warm water and play in the sand with her mum, and Pauline’s friend Louise who went with them.

Pauline says that the holiday gave Caitlin the opportunity to enjoy so many new experiences. “Caitlin can be anxious around new people and used to cry a lot when she was young. When she did hydrotherapy at home she would get worried when her feet couldn’t touch the bottom, but in Portugal, Caitlin swam with Louise in the adult pool which was a big thing for her, going out of her comfort zone around lots of new people made me so proud of her and how well she has coped. Watching her so happy just made me well up with joy.”

It was the first time Caitlin had seen a real dolphin and Pauline says it was really special. She was relaxed and happy around them.

Caitlin Mcfadden Dolphin Swim

Pauline says, “It was a big thing for Caitlin and I to go abroad and it’s given us both the confidence to try new things. Caitlin wanted to hug everyone she met! Everyone was so helpful – even the transfer driver just made everything run so smoothly.”

“Caitlin’s wish came at the best time for us. She’d had been poorly for weeks before the wish as a result of an allergic reaction but thankfully she recovered well enough to travel.

When we returned, she had an assessment for a powered wheelchair. We were originally told she wouldn’t be able to use one because of her limited movement, but 5 minutes into the 40-minute assessment, we were told she could! I’m sure that the confidence and hope that Caitlin’s wish has given her helped this decision.”

“Poorly children get so used to hospitals and appointments” says Pauline, “a wish like this gives them a snapshot of a normal life, it really positively impacts their mental health. Caitlin is a lot more relaxed since coming back from her wish. She works so hard with physio and school, so to reward her for all her hard work meant so much.”

You can help us grant more magical wishes to children like Caitlin by donating here. 

Accommodation £1,830; Meals £300; Flight Tickets £200; Other costs £50; Total £2,380;

Sponsored donations made towards a child’s wish will go towards their One True Wish. If a child’s wish receives over funding the additional donations will be put towards a similar wish. If a child's wish doesn't reach 100% funding their wish will still take place and general funds will be used.