News & Osbserver
August 1, 2011
By Barry Saunders
...It was "a chance meeting" that kicked off what Walsh, 38, hopes will be a lifelong transformation for her daughter.
"I saw a woman with a shirt that said 'Surf Instructor' and asked if she would work with my daughter. She didn't say anything about the possible liability of working with a 5-year-old autistic child who can't swim. She said, 'Let me ask my brother 'cause he's kind of a strong swimmer.'"
The woman Walsh was talking to was 26-year-old Ashley Silvagni, and her brother - the "kind of strong swimmer" - is world champion surfer Tony Silvagni...
For the better part of the next six hours, Walsh said, Silvagni played on a surfboard with Koi. She fell several times but always got up and tried again. "Koi just came out of her shell. She was really proud. My daughter is so changed now. It was a profound experience..."
Read the full inspirational News & Observer story here.
Photo of Tony from: http://surfschoolnc.com/