The smiles say it all as Julie’s dolphin dream comes true

DREAM COME TRUE Julie Cunningham
DREAM COME TRUE Julie Cunningham

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JULIE Cunningham beams with delight as she has a great time splashing with a friendly dolphin.

The 42-year-old has had a tough three years as she battles with cancer.

So she was thrilled when she discovered her friends and family had made her dreams come true by rallying together to enable her to take a trip to Florida.

Julie, of King George Road, Portchester, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her right leg in March 2008.

A year later she found out she had developed lung cancer.

After many operations, and treatments including chemotherapy and radiotherapy and suffering from a blood clot, she was delighted when her father-in-law paid for the family to fly out to Florida for two weeks.

And days before she left, she got a huge surprise when she was presented with £1,200 in cash to pay for the family to swim with dolphins.

Julie, her husband Peter, 44, and her two children Adam, 14, and Mia, seven, spent two weeks in the Sunshine State.

‘I was just speechless,’ she said.

‘I didn’t know what to say. We couldn’t believe it. It was just such a nice gesture.’

The family visited the Everglades and Disney World before they had the opportunity to swim with dolphins in Discovery Cove.

‘It was amazing,’ added Julie. ‘You can hold on to a fin and the dolphin takes you through the water. It was lovely. We just had two amazing weeks and a lovely time. It was a good family time together.

‘If anything should happen with regards to me then they will have lots of good memories.’

The money was raised from family, friends, and even total strangers or people who barely knew Julie and her family, but knew what they had been through.

‘I just want to say a huge thank you,’ she said.

‘It restores your faith in people. We’re just so grateful. We can’t thank them enough really.’

Friend Kerrie Dyer organised everything and encouraged her friends and family to make a donation.

The 39-year-old from Central Road in Portchester, said: ‘This has gone on for a long time. It has a massive impact on their life in general.

‘You can’t go to Florida and not swim with the dolphins.

‘People were just giving money without asking questions.’