For Immediate Release                                                                                                       September 14, 2011


Travis has overcome obstacles similar to Winter and will now see his inspiration on the big screen

Thirteen-year-old Travis Sampson and his family is in for a once in a lifetime experence thanks to AmeriLife.  Travis’s mother Tina wrote to Clearwater Marine Aquarium in hopes of making her son’s red carpet wish come true.

Travis and his brother were adopted by the Sampson family as babies. Travis was born an above the knee amputee and with a mitral valve irregularity. Travis has met Winter several times and was even an extra in the filming of Dolphin Tale. According to Travis’s mother he connected with her immediately.  Travis wears a prosthetic leg and uses the WintersGel sleeve to provide comfort. Two years ago, Travis received his first running leg and with the support of his family and the inspiration he found from Winter’s story, he ran for the first time without coming in last place. According to his mother, Travis often talks proudly of his connection to Winter and she believes that it has helped him emotionally.  In addition to the hardships the Sampson family has faced with their sons, they also care for Tina Sampson’s terminally ill brother. The household medical care costs prevented the family from purchasing tickets to the event.

As a sponsor of the Clearwater Special Screening Red Carpet Event, AmeriLife is helping to make the family’s wish come true and along with Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff will surprise the Sampson children with tickets to the event. AmeriLife will have a number of movie set props (as well as one of Winter’s prosthetic tail devices) on display in the first-floor lobby for the surprise announcement.

WHEN: Monday September 19th at 11 a.m.

WHERE: AmeriLife Clearwater Complex
2536 Countryside Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33763

*Media will also have the opportunity to greet and interview the family from the red carpet on Wednesday the 21st at the special screening event*

The proceeds from Dolphin Tale Clearwater Special Screening at Ruth Eckerd Hall next Wednesday will benefit both Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the Challenged Athletes foundation, and each $99 ticket includes two free admission passes to Clearwater Marine Aquarium. To purchase tickets to The Clearwater Special Screening please call the Ruth Eckerd Hall Box Office at (727) 791-7400

About AmeriLife
AmeriLife Group, LLC, together with its subsidiaries, provides senior-focused life and health insurance products and services in the United States. It offers a health and financial protection kit consisting of health and dental insurance, Medicare Supplements and Advantage plans, prescription drug plans, fixed and equity indexed annuities, as well as life, final expense and long-term care insurance for senior Americans. AmeriLife operates a network of Medicare-preferred provider organizations and markets homeowner, automobile, unit owner, watercraft and liability insurance products of various companies. Founded in 1971 and based in Clearwater, Florida, AmeriLife also provides third-party administration services such as compliance, policyholder, premium billing, claims and underwriting services.

About Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a Florida non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring and preserving our marine life and environment through leadership in education, research and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine life. Visit to see speaker series lectures planned for the entire year. CMA is home to dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, nurse sharks and more. Winter the dolphin’s story of survival and inspiration has touched millions of people around the world. A movie, Dolphin Tale, about her life story is currently being produced by Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment and stars Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, and Kris Kristofferson.  Her documentary, “Winter: The Dolphin that Could” is available at The documentary takes viewers on an extraordinary journey through her rescue, fight to stay alive and extensive rehabilitation. Scholastic published Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again in October 2009.

For additional information about the Monday news conference/presentation, please contact AmeriLife’s Public Communications Director Wayne Shelor at 727-224-0088. For additional information about Winter or the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, please contact Krista Rosado, Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Director of Marketing and Advertising, at 727-441-1790 (Ex. 227). If any television station wants to make arrangements to do a live shot at noon Monday, please let me (Shelor) know so van/dish parking accommodations may be made.

Wayne Shelor

Public Communications Director

2536 Countryside Boulevard

Clearwater, Florida  33763

Office: 727.726.0726, Ext. 2710

Fax:    727.483.7470

Cell: 727.492.1724

Cell: 727.224.0088

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.

Keep your eyes open for a lot of upcoming changes…things are about to get crazy! Yet this is an extremely exciting time for us and we so honored to be able to spread the word and educate the world on our mission of rescuing, rehabbing and releasing marine life.

We have been making plans to expand our square footage to improve the guest experience. Also, with the West Side construction starting soon we needed to add portable restrooms as our old restrooms are being bulldozed very soon.


Adding tents on the North side of the building covered both issues. We are now operational with our new ticket trailers. These will relieve the bottleneck indoors where ticket sales and retail sales had shared the same area. Once our guest purchases a ticket they will walk into the fenced area where a Guest Service Specialist will greet the guest and verify they have purchased a ticket.

Once inside the fence the guests are now free to roam the entire guest side of the building and come and go from the building to the fenced area to utilize the restrooms and the activities that the Hospitality team will provide under the tents.

We have designated new handicapped parking spaces beside the ticket trailers to ensure a positive guest experience for our disabled guests. We have reclassified the restroom by surgery as our ADA restroom as the restrooms outside are not designed for ADA.


The rehab of our Turtle ICU is moving forward and is slated to re-open the week of Sept. 12th. When completed this area will have air conditioning and a new drop ceiling with improved lighting. The new glass door will allow our guests to have a clear view into the area while maintaining good quarantine. We will also have two cameras placed in this space which will have a live feed out into the public space so the guests can have a better view of the turtles in the pools. The new look will not only be great for the public but will better serve the turtles in this area.

Please help us continue to rescue the injured and sick marine life! We need you!


32,453 guests answered our call to “Come See Winter!”

With less than 2 months to the premiere of Dolphin Tale, the Warner Bros.- based Alcon Entertainment major motion picture about CMA’s most famous resident, Winter, CMA broke all time attendance records. Five years ago, CMA’s July attendance was only 9,302, but with the arrival of Winter and a new management team, CMA’s attendance numbers began to consistently increase. In July 2009, CMA reached 23,583 attendees. Today, coinciding with trailers in theatres and promotions beginning around the country, more and more visitors are coming to see Winter, 32,453 to be exact. This represents a 39% growth from July 2010. With the unparalleled publicity from the movie, CMA is progressing on a new path that includes a $12 million dollar expansion that will allow for the growth of the mission – Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release of sick and injured marine animals and public education.

Will you be the next to visit CMA and say hi to Winter?

Marley is a juvenile sea green turtle and was admitted in March from the Crystal River area with active fibropapilloma tumors and possible shell rot. Marley responded well to aggressive supportive rehab management and nutrition. After several months Marley’s symptoms resolved and was deemed releasable.