Winter the Dolphin meets her human counterpart

The Australian man lost the use of his legs, but he fought to get back on his feet.

If you’re inspired by Winter the dolphin, get ready to be just as inspired by her human counterpart.

John MacLean was told he would never walk again after a bike accident that left him paralyzed. But after 25 years, he is walking again. Some call it a miracle, but MacLean says it’s a combination of persistence and having a positive frame of mind.

MacLean spent time on Friday meeting Winter and learning about her story of survival at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

“We’ve both had near-death experiences. My dad was told I wasn’t going to live and I think that was something similar for Winter. Thankfully I woke up from a coma and thankfully they didn’t euthanize Winter,” MacLean said.

MacLean was training for a triathlon in Australia, where he lives, and got hit from behind by an 8-ton truck while riding his bike. The impact of the hit broke his back, hip, pelvis, 15 bones and damaged his spinal cord leaving him in a wheelchair.

For years, doctors told him he would never be able to walk again. MacLean said he made the best of that situation by becoming a wheelchair athlete.

“Years later I finally met a doctor who said there is hope for me to walk again. I worked with The Hanger Clinic to get equipment to help me stand again and eventually walk again. The Hanger Clinic helps wounded soldiers coming back from war by providing them with prosthetic limbs and braces,” MacLean said, “I used a brace and walking poles and practiced one step at a time. I fell over hundreds of times but each time I got back up and worked harder to move forward.”

MacLean now travels the world sharing his experience with others and inspires them to think outside the box when it comes to life and solutions.

“If we change our thoughts and thought process, we can change our outcome. We are so fortunate to be alive. Especially for those of us who have survived near-death experiences. Life can be full if we choose to look at it through an open lens.”

If you’d like to learn more about John MacLean’s inspiring story, he has a book out called “How Far Can You Go.”

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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