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Maja and Winter - friends forever!

Meet Maja Kazazic

When Maja Kazazic was 16 years old and living in Bosnia during the war, she was severely injured by a mortar shell rocket grenade. The six friends she was with were all killed by the grenade. After Maja had a leg removed, she was on the verge of dying from her injuries and infection. The U.S. government arranged for Maja to be secretly moved out of the country, and she left her family and came to the United States for treatment, not knowing if she would ever see them again. Maja underwent rehabilitation at a hospital in Maryland for many months before finding out her family had survived the war. She was eventually able to move them all to the United States. She learned English, graduated from high school and college and is now a successful business owner.

After moving to Clearwater, Maja began coming to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and learned about Winter's story. As she continued to visit Winter and follow her progress, Maja felt that Winter was the animal version of herself. The two had both been through traumatic injuries, lost part of themselves and had prosthetics. Beyond that, from the time Maja was five years old in Bosnia, she had dreamed of seeing a dolphin in person.

Maja decided she wanted the same doctor that Winter had and went to Hanger Prosthetics and had them make her a prosthetic leg. In another ironic twist, she uses the same type of gel in her prosthetic sleeve that was originally created for Winter. Maja now volunteers at the Aquarium once a week and has shared her story and overcome struggles with the help of Winter.

She has been approached by several people about writing a book and wants to eventually see her story on the big screen. Maja smiles every time she shares her story because she is thankful every day to be alive. Visit her website, where you can read Maja's story and share your own. She also taught herself how to build websites and is now running a successful website company called Vela Business Solutions, and has helped CMA create this brand new website that we hope you enjoy!

Have you been inspired by Winter? Tell us your story here now and let us know how Winter has made a difference in your life.