A wish came true today (Wednesday January 13) for a brave four-year-old boy suffering from a rare muscle wasting disease when a shark was named after him at Brighton Sea Life Centre.
Little Maxwell Smith, from Thakeham, was guest of honour when the newly-named Zebra Shark was transferred from its quarantine area into a new one million litre ‘ocean display’ at the aquarium.
Maxwell, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion and is confined to a wheelchair while relying on a ventilator to breathe, loves watching fish and his greatest wish was to visit the Sea Life Centre.
With the help of children’s charities Merlin’s Magic Wand and Rays of Sunshine, Sea Life made that wish come true – and went one step further, naming the aquarium’s newest addition Maxwell in honour of the brave four year old.
Maxwell’s dad Pete said later: “It was absolutely amazing.” And he thanked everyone involved for their help in making it happen.
“I don’t know many other little boys who have a shark,” he said. “Maxwell’s a phenomenal boy and I’m blessed to have him as my son.”
The two metre long male zebra shark joined Sea Life Brighton from a sister aquarium in Holland. The newly-christened Maxwell will now join Dotty, a female Zebra Shark, as well as Black Tip Reef Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Sting Ray and two Giant Green Sea in the aquarium.
A wooden plaque was also unveiled at the aquarium to commemorate little Maxwell’s official naming of Zebra Shark Maxwell.
Meanwhile, Maxwell be taking part in another event next week when he is guest of honour at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open a new sensory centre at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Brighton where he has spent much time undergoing treatment.
Pictured: Maxwell meeting his namesake at the Brighton Sea Life Centre: Photo: Julia Claxton
To follow Maxwell’s story, visit www.littlemaxwell.org.