Danny M., a 14 year old from Brunswick, Ohio, loves dolphins more than anything! Danny has been dealing with severe autism but has a special connection to these amazing animals. As his mom Karen told us,

He can talk forever about dolphins and reciprocate conversations with such animation and true reciprocal language that we feel he is typical at times just talking about dolphins. We have been to Sea World but never been able to afford to get to see any dolphin encounter let alone one that would be equipped to meet his special needs. His language explodes with any ocean, sea life discussion and classical music. Danny tells everyone he meets that he has seen bottle nose dolphins in the distance in the Atlantic ocean at Marineland Canada when he was 4 and at Sea world Orlando…

After discovering Jack Gives Back through another family we had sent to IDC, we were thrilled to give Danny and his family the opportunity to spend some time with them, face to bottlenose. They had an incredible week swimming with his new dolphin friends, Karen described the experience as heavenly, a truly amazing gift to Danny.


Drew B., a 20 year old from Middleburg Heights, OH, has suffered from epilepsy and cognitive delay since birth - but he hasn’t let that stop him from being full of life and enthusiasm! While he may not be able to do many things others his age can like drive, he certainly hasn’t let that hold him back. We were happy to give Drew and his family the opportunity to visit Island Dolphin Care for a week of fun with the dolphins!

I just wanted to thank you both so much for thinking of Drew and my family for this amazing experience. It is something that we will never forget. The place we stayed was beautiful and the dolphin experience was beyond what we expected. Everyone there was so sweet and helpful and so good with Drew.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

-Jill, Drew’s mother


Katie D., a 10 year old from Rocky River, OH, has Down Syndrome and underwent open heart surgery at only 3 months old. She loves to swim and has been on the Rocky River Rec swim team for the past two years! Her mother Eileen describes Katie as the “glue that keeps our family together….She finds joy in the smallest things and in turn, we find joy by being with her.” We were so excited to give Katie the chance to swim with the dolphins at IDC.


Jackie P. was in her second year of a physician assistant program when, while walking to a friend’s car, was struck by another vehicle. She suffered numerous broken bones and a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma for 3 weeks. The road to recovery hasn’t been easy, with many other complications and unexpected injuries along the way, but Jackie has done her best to stay strong and positive! We were happy to send her and her parents to swim with our favorite dolphins for some fun physical therapy in the sun. After her first day, Jackie had this to say:

This is officially the COOLEST thing I’ve ever done! Just finished day one and, oh my gosh, even my parents had a great time!


Haley K., from Florida, got an early Christmas wish and was able to spend four days with her family at Island Dolphin Care swimming with Sarah! After discovering that Haley was suffering from a very serious illness, we were delighted to send her and her family to IDC as quickly as possible to make some Christmas memories with the dolphins. Her mother Kristen said to us:

This is such an amazing place! Haley says the dolphins give her energy. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience. We’ve all had such a wonderful time.


Jon and Mary Dittrich, from Cleveland, Ohio, have four sons who all have various special needs, including autism and heart defects. Will, Mack, Charlie, and Ben are all happy children who love being outside and playing in the water, so we felt they were perfect candidates for dolphin therapy with IDC! After their week in Key Largo, Jon and Mary had this to say:

Our four boys have been through more obstacles in their short lives than most will experience in their lifetime. A few weeks ago, our family was given an unimaginable gift from Jack Tusick. With incredible generosity, Jack Gives Back gifted us a trip to Key Largo to swim with the dolphins at Island Dolphin Care. The trip was...awe inspiring. For the first time, our boys flew on an airplane and got to experience something that was entirely about them and their development, in the most fun way possible. Not only did our boys have an amazing time, but my husband and I had an epiphany. We always knew our boys we capable, but we were pushed outside of our comfort zone traveling with 4 children under 7 (3 with Autism). And with this opportunity, we realized that even our kids can thrive in that environment. They too can be the kids on the plane that everyone compliments on how good they were. Not to mention, my mother, my mother-in-law, my husband and I all had an amazing time in beautiful Key Largo. It was not only an educational trip for the boys, it was truly a carefree vacation for the family. In a way, Jack Gives Back opened up our minds to all that our kids CAN do instead of all the things they can’t. It was a trip that was truly food for our souls, and we are flooded with appreciation. Thank you so much for doing what you do. We are so lucky to have gotten to experience everyone and everything at Island Dolphin Care.


Stephanie is from the Bronx in New York and has suffered from Lissencephaly Cerebral Palsy since she was born. A happy girl who loves being in the water, we were so excited to send her and her family to IDC! She had an amazing time with the dolphins and her father Jesus had this to say:

“I do not have the words to express the great gift that you gave to us … I pray to God to fill you with blessings and to continue to give you the possibility to help many families. Also to keep blessing you with the strength to continue with this beautiful mission.” 


Griffin K., a seven year old from Rocky River, Ohio, had been dealing with Intractable Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder for most of his young life. After many years of adjusting and struggling, he and his family had been making some improvements to his health. Griffin loves being the water constantly and has a strong passion for dolphins, fish, and other aquatic animals. We at Jack Gives Back were so excited to help Griffin realize his dream of swimming with the dolphins at Island Dolphin Care! After an amazing week, his mother Shanna had this to say:

We are so thankful for this opportunity. Island Dolphin Care and everyone there are amazing and patient. Thank you again for this trip. We cannot thank you and your family enough. We are sending thank you’s and love up to Jack.


Andrew, a 10 year old from Arizona, has not let his Cerebral Palsy stop him from living life to the fullest! Having been to Island Dolphin Care once years before, his mother Kellie knew what an impact a week with the dolphins could have on her son. After hearing about some recent health issues, we were so glad to be able to send Andrew back to IDC to have another uplifting and magical experience.

Andrew's time at Island Dolphin Care was a huge blessing for him.  He had gone through a very difficult time physically leading up to this, as he suffered a stress fractured foot -- in addition to his daily challenges with having cerebral palsy.  That meant more pain -- more time at doctors -- and more of being put on the sidelines in his life.  Our beautiful "joy boy" had lost his smile. His time at Island Dolphin Care brought back his smile! He felt included and confident again and he enjoyed every moment of it. Thank you Jack Gives Back Foundation for bringing this huge blessing into Andrew's life.  This trip was a catalyst for him for better times ahead and we are forever grateful!



Our first Jack Gives Back fundraiser was a rousing success! It truly exceeded all of our expectations and we were blessed to host over 200 generous guests. What an amazing night of giving in memory of our Jack.

There were many volunteers who helped create beautiful decor, enticing baskets, silent auction items, and a spectacular Jack Gives Back merchandise shop. As people began to pour into our event space, it was apparent how generous everyone had planned to be! Our silent auction and raffle had a wide variety of baskets to choose from, with exciting items donated by several local Jack Gives Back supporters. 

An open bar and four local restaurants (Bucci’s, Rosewood Grille, Welldone Catering, Grandma Nye’s Catering, and Grove Hill) provided a delicious variety of cuisine and beverages for our guests to sample. As they perused our raffle baskets and our Jack Gives Back merchandise, live music was provided by Doug Nichols, a local favorite of everyone at JGB. 

A highlight of the evening was announcing the winner of the 5 day/4 night all expense paid trip for 2 to visit Island Dolphin Care and meet Jack’s favorite dolphin friend, Squirt. The winner was pulled and Mike and Terri Thies were ecstatic to learn that they would be going to Key Largo in the spring!

The night was a wonderful success and we received so much positive feedback from all who attended. We were very grateful for all of our guests, our volunteers, and donors. The money raised not only helped Jack Gives Back send children with disabilities and their families to experience Island Dolphin Care, but it was automatically doubled due to a million dollar match grant to IDC through the Pat Moran Foundation.  

At the end of the evening, an unbelievable total of $27,500 was raised for Jack Gives Back! All of our success would not have been possible without the hard work from all involved and we were humbled by all of the generous donations we received. We attended Island Dolphin Care’s annual fundraiser in November and our $27,500 became $55,000, all benefiting the children, their families, and of course the dolphins! The Jack Gives Back Foundation thanks each and every one of our supporters and we look forward to our next fundraising event! Look for the next one in 2019!