TODAY   |  September 01, 2013

8-year-old amputee fulfills dream to swim with dolphin

Cieran Kelso was just a toddler when he lost both his legs, which happened to be the same year his favorite dolphin Winter lost her tail. Both live outfitted with prosthetics, and Kelso fulfilled a dream when he joined Winter in the water. NBC’s Randy McIlwain reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> just a little warning for you, it is going to be pretty tough for you to not fall in love with a little boy in our next story. he lost both of had his legs when he was just 13 months old. he now walks in prosthetic legs, as you can see. he loves to swim. for that, he has some very special flippers.

>> and a lot of same leyritz with a dolphin in a kids' movie. what if the two had a chance to meet? now with a dolphin tale that will make you smile.

>> reporter: what should be obvious is cieran kelso will stand up and conquer challenges. the 8-year-old traveled from england with his dad, mom and sister to visit clear water 's marine aquarium in pursuit after dream, to swim with winter, star of the movie "dolphin tales."

>> in the same year that i lost my legs.

>> reporter: cieran was 3 months old, just learning to walk when stricken with meningitis forcing doctors to amputate both legs.

>> he doesn't seem disabled, does he? he puts his legs on and goes out and does it or puts his flippers on.

>> reporter: a year and a half ago the kelsos watched the movie "dolphin tales." winter's struggles of being saved. for cieran it was instant kinship.

>> that she had a prosthetic tale and i have prosthetic legs.

>> cieran said to me, she's disabled just like me, we knew it was a special movie.

>> that there is her blow hole.

>> reporter: once in the water the connection is undenial.

>> the faster i swam, the faster winter swam.

>> reporter: they swim and flash. she has longed for this moment and as it happened she could barely watch. you had to step away a couple times.

>> yeah. it just means so much to us. just to be given the opportunity in life because he's had so much taken away.

>> reporter: this experience took a year to plan out but it was kept top secret from the kids. their parents didn't tell them a thing n. fact, when they went to the airport in the uk, they thought they were dropping daddy off because he was heading to work.

>> we are going to see florida to see dolphins.

>> reporter: this is the kelsos' own recording of the moment cieran learned of the trip.

>> crazy. did you bring the flippers?

>> reporter: one of many memories they'll remember for years just like when cieran hit the pool. freezing water, heartwarming story. if a dolphin can inspire a child, perhaps riera had n can inspire others.

>> i hope one of the guys from are the military see this is after losing a limb and goes, you know what, if that 8-year-old kid can do it, then we can do it, too.