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15-year-old with heart condition becomes CMA marine biologist for a day

Jenny flew all the way from Syracuse, Indiana to fulfill a lifelong dream.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — One deserving teen got her day in the sun Friday at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Soon-to-be 15-year-old Jenny, from Syracuse, Indiana, was born with a serious heart disease that presents her with new challenges daily. But, something that has always pulled her through is her love for marine animals.

So, it was only fitting that for her Make-A-Wish, Jenny became a marine biologist for a day.

The teen went behind the scenes as a VIP at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Friday morning before the facility opened. She got up close and personal with some of CMA's rescued animals, starting with the rough-toothed dolphins.

Credit: Make-A-Wish Southern Florida

Jenny participated in the mammals' feeding and playtime before working with trainers on the high-energy activities of the bottlenose dolphins.

Make-A-Wish Southern Florida has granted more than 13,000 wishes to children with critical illnesses since 1983. The non-profit is on a mission "to grant a wish for every eligible child in its territory and understands wishes aren’t just nice, they’re necessary for kids and families at some of the most difficult times in their lives."

You can support Make-A-Wish through different volunteer, sponsorship and donation opportunities.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff and volunteers work to rescue marine life and provide care to maximize the chances of returning sick or injured animals back to the water after rehabilitation. The facility provides permanent habitats for animals that are unable to be released.

CMA is a leader in marine mammal research and environmental conservation both locally and around the world.

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