Girl with life-threatening illnesses becomes dolphin trainer for a day

SAN DIEGO -- A girl who wasn’t expected to live past her third birthday had her wish granted Wednesday to be a dolphin trainer for a day.

Eight-year-old Mikaylah Alcivar is battling a series of potentially life-threatening illnesses including mild cerebral palsy, a chromosome 15 deletion, and t-cell abnormality, which weakens her immune system.

“She also was recently diagnosed with epilepsy,” said her mother, Crystal. “When she was born and I was holding her in my hands, as you expect to do with a newborn, her head would crunch in my hands and that was the first time I knew something was wrong."

When Kids Wish Network heard about Mikaylah’s dream to be a dolphin trainer for a day, it reached out to SeaWorld San Diego.

On Wednesday, a SeaWorld trainer met her family at the Double Tree by Hilton San Diego Del Mar. She surprised Mikaylah with a stuffed-animal dolphin and news that she would get to hang out at SeaWorld and learn about training dolphins.

A limo escorted the family to the park, where Mikaylah was then able to pet, feed and use hand signals with the dolphins.

When asked if she had a good time and what she would tell her friends about her experience at SeaWorld, Mikaylah said, “I’m going to tell them I’m almost a dolphin trainer."

"We just roll with the punches. What are you going to do? A lot of people ask us how we do it. She's my daughter. What else am I going to do?" said Crystal.

The Alcivar family is from Colorado and spent the rest of the week in San Diego sightseeing.