Molly Burke has always had a dream. A dream that some people said she would never achieve because she’s blind. All Molly wanted was to swim in a mermaid tail for even a moment. So Fin Fun and Mermaid Flower made that dream a reality.
Even the blind deserves to swim
At the young age of four, Molly Burke’s life took a dark turn. She was diagnosed with a rare retinal disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa causing a rapid loss of vision. Despite the obvious setbacks that would surface, Molly focused her efforts on the brighter parts of life. She’s become a YouTube and motivational “superstar,” and the lives she has touched are countless.
Unfortunately, not everyone can see just how capable she is. When she tried to sign up for a mermaid class, she was turned away. Society kept telling her that she couldn’t do it. That if she couldn’t see, she couldn’t be a mermaid.
Fortunately for her, Fin Fun believes everyone deserves to dream—even the blind.
When the staff at Fin Fun got word of her heartbreaking decline, they weren’t about to let her dreams fade away. They put Molly in touch with Kim Turcotte (aka Mermaid Flower), a professional mermaid with HB Mermaids and a Mermaid U affiliate. Kim immediately embraced Molly’s situation and the two became instant friends.
“I first heard about Molly from Fin Fun and watched her video about being declined to swim. The video was heartbreaking for me to watch,” Kim recalled. “I continued watching her YouTube videos reflecting her swimming capability in her make-shift monofin and I felt 100% confident that we could get Molly swimming in a Fin Fun tail quickly!”
Finding a good match
Kim has been a professional mermaid instructor since 2016 and has swam with several abilities and disabilities. When she was asked to take Molly under her fin, it didn’t take a second thought for her to know that she would make this dream of Molly’s possible.
“I have never turned down anyone from learning how to swim in a mermaid tail that knows how to swim and can pass Fin Fun’s mermaid tail swim test,” Kim explained. “It hurts my heart that anyone would turn Molly down even though she could pass the test with flying colors! I wanted to show Molly that she could swim like a real-life mermaid. She just needed someone to show her how.”
After the two became acquainted, Molly and Kim immediately set a date for their adventure. Kim worked matters out with Waterworks Aquatics and arranged for enough staff at the facility to ensure Molly’s safety. Molly prepared herself to experience one of her greatest dreams. She would finally become a mermaid.
An experience of a lifetime
Their lesson day began just as any other Mermaid 101 class would. They came to the side of the pool and discussed all the necessary safety tips before getting in the water. Molly passed the swim test and Kim helped her feel how to put on a mermaid tail and how to quick-release the monofin.
Before too long, Molly transformed into Mermaid Sparkles. She was swimming through hoops, dolphin kicking the length of the pool, and performing tricks just as any other mermaid would.
“Molly, like many others who live with various disabilities, has taken the ‘dis’ right out of the word!” Kim exclaimed. “Her experience is a breakthrough. I hope anyone who struggles with people telling them they can’t do something never gives up. They can. And with the right help, they will!”
Taking the ‘dis’ out of disability
In the words of Kim, “sometimes it takes a village to make a mermaid and that’s okay!” If you or a loved one is currently incapable of living a dream, don’t give up. Keep looking for the right match and anything will be possible—even becoming a mermaid.
“I work alongside a team that creates a mermaid experience to last a lifetime,” Kim said. “If someone is disabled to a point where they will never pass the swim test, there are still ways for them to wear a tail and make a splash. Mermaids exist on land and sea, it would be good for us to remember that.”
Mermaid Flower and Mermaid Sparkles are already planning their next underwater adventure. This time around, they will be reaching greater depths and learning new tricks to enhance Molly’s mermaid experience.
If you or someone you know wants to learn the ways of mermaiding, you can find a Mermaid University location at Fin Fun’s mermaid class locator or email firstname.lastname@example.org.