Now Cieran Kelso, seven, is dreaming of going to Florida to swim with Winter, the star from the blockbuster movie, Dolphin Tale, who also has a prosthetic tail to propel her through the water.
His stepmum Gemma, from Northwich, Cheshire, said: "Cieran loves swimming and has been having swimming lessons for just over a year, but he couldn't propel himself through the water or stay afloat as easily as everyone else.
"When Cieran watched Dolphin Tale, he just couldn't believe it, it's one of his favourites now.
"He obviously took a real shine to Winter, who has a prosthetic tail, and now he dreams of hopefully one day meeting and swimming with her."
Cieran was given just three hours to live after he was struck down with meningitis as a baby in 2006. He pulled through but had to have both legs amputated below the knee, and also lost the tips of most of his fingers.
He was given false legs and a wheelchair to help him get around but he still dreamed of swimming with his friends.
So his dad Gary, 34, and stepmum Gemma, 28, spent months fundraising on his behalf and called on Paul Leishman at The London Prosthetics Clinic in Leeds, to make a pair of £1,000 prosthetic flippers for their son.
"As soon as Cieran first wore the flippers it was incredible the speed he could travel through the water, his instructor even had to swim with him to keep up," said Gemma.
"We were very lucky to have these flippers custom-made for Cieran but obviously these along with his prosthetic legs are expensive so more fundraising is planned for 2013 to give Cieran the best chance at a normal life."
More on Parentdish: Mum and baby both survive meningitis
More:Advice And Health
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more