South Padre Island, TX

Young Hospice Patient Has Connection with Sea Turtles

Media TV

It was a dream come true for a Texas hospice patient over the weekend at South Padre Island. 23-year-old Katelyn’s final wish was to visit sea turtles one last time. The San Antonio native’s dream was granted by AccentCare Hospice Foundation. The non-profit fulfilled her wish by sending her and her family to South Padre so she could see the beautiful creatures. “The trip was great, and it was just perfect for her,” said stepmom, Melissa.
Katelyn and her family visit Sea Turtles, Inc.Sea Turtles, Inc.

When they first met, Natalie Sassenhagen, her AccentCare hospice care coordinator, heard Katelyn mentioning how much she loved sea turtles. “She communicated that they had always been her spirit animal and showed me a tattoo of a sea turtle that she was very proud of. My wheels started turning,” said Natalie, who quickly located Sea Turtles, Inc. as the closest place Katelyn and her family could drive to see the colorful animals.
Katelyn watches a sea turtle swim in its tankMelissa Huchin

Although a little tired from the trip to South Padre, Katelyn marshalled her strength to visit the beloved animals at Sea Turtles, Inc. It was a unique way to see the aquatic creatures up close. She even got to adopt one of the sea turtle hatchlings and named it Sebs, nicknamed after Sebastian.
Adopt a Sea Turtle Hatchling like Katelyn did! Help the sea turtles.Natalie Sassahagen

Sea Turtle Inc. is home to Allison, who has one of the first successful sea turtle prosthetic flipper devices in the world. Making a deep connection with the beautiful animal, Katelyn was able to see how the device was attached to Allison’s turtle shell when she swam by.
Katelyn makes a connection with Allison, the sea turtle with a prosthetic flipperGilbert Huchin

While looking at other resident turtles who live at the facility, one of the magnificent creatures stuck its head up out of its tank. It was almost as if the sea turtle was popping up to say hi to Katelyn as she watched them glide gracefully around in their exhibit area.
All smiles in front of the sea turtle tank!Gilbert Huchin

After the visit, her father drove to the beach and carried her to the water so she could dip her toes in the surf and sand to relax by the beach for what could possibly be her last visit to the crystal-clear ocean waters.
Taking in the beauty of the oceanGilbert Huchin
Enjoying the crystal clear ocean waterMelissa Huchin

For more on Katelyn's adventure:

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