Featured Image Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
By Kira Krall
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium hosted a very special 18th birthday bash on December 19th. Autumn Swank is a young philanthropist that is bringing joy to kids despite a lifelong battle with an inoperable brain tumor. She spent her birthday hanging out with Winter and Hope, two rescue dolphins and movie stars!
Autumn was diagnosed with the tumor in 2009. Six years ago, she gave back to her community in a huge way. Autumn collected over 1,300 stuffed animals to give to children of fallen soldiers through Snowball Express, an organization that provides support for military families. She continues to donate thousands of stuffed animals per year through this organization.
These campaigns were inspired by an interaction with another child during her first hospitalization. Autumn’s experience was met with the love and support of her friends and family. While she had gifts from her loved ones, she saw an orphaned boy in a nearby room that had nothing. She gave him one of the stuffed animals and his reaction was enough for her to continue donating thousands to other children in need today.
The inspiring young woman is partnering with the Aquarium to collect thousands more stuffed animals to continue fulfilling her mission. Through January 18th, the Winter and Autumn’s Hope campaign will donate a stuffed animal every time an Aquarium guest purchases a Winter plush. You can also donate new or gently used stuffed animals by dropping them off or mailing them into the aquarium!
Read more about the Winter and Autumn Hope campaign here, and send your stuffed animal donations to the address below!
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
ATTN: Winter and Autumn’s Hope
249 Windward Passage
Clearwater, FL 33767