Bradenton woman who survived brutal attack fulfills wish, meets Winter the Dolphin

Bradenton woman who survived brutal attack fulfills wish, meets Winter the Dolphin

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Eleven years ago, Alyssa Blasing was working as a manager in a Bradenton restaurant when she was brutally attacked by a former coworker.

After the attack in September 2008, Blasing had to be revived in the helicopter while being flown to the hospital.

Blasing said, "On September 28, 2008, I was killed and pronounced dead on the scene," recounts Blasing. "They got a faint pulse, so they just kept helping me."

"When I got to her bedside, she was just barely clinging to life. She had been hurt so badly," said Blasing's mother.

She spent several months at a hospital in St. Petersburg before going to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital for rehab for a traumatic brain injury.

"I can't begin to thank everyone who helped in my recovery. I want to share my story of hope and perseverance. Like Winter, I was broken and needed help to get my life back," Blasing said.

“I am proud of our clinical team who provided exceptional care in assisting Alyssa in regaining her strength and independence. Her story is truly one of hope and inspiration for others. We appreciate the Clearwater Aquarium making it possible for us to help fulfill her birthday wish of meeting Winter the dolphin,” Marcus Braz, CEO Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota said.

Blasing's birthday is this week and to celebrate, Blasing got to fulfill her wish to meet Winter the Dolphin at the Clearwater Aquarium.

"I just love Winter," said Blasing. "She's just so neat and beautiful and inspirational."

Winter was rescued in 2005 when she was only 2-months-old after becoming entangled in crab trap line in Mosquito Lagoon near Cape Canaveral. The line cut off circulation to her tail and it was unable to be saved. She now has a prosthetic tail made by Sarasota-based prosthetist Dan Stzempka.

Blasing's mother says both her daughter and Winter are survivors.

"We all have challenges of varying degrees and different things that happen to us throughout life," Blasing said. "And that's what I hope I can do for people, is just make them feel like they can accomplish things too."

Blasing said it was fun and exciting to be near Winter and to feed the dolphin fish.

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