Saba Awaits you….
Support Diveheart and Support People With Disabilities 5 day dive trip for two benefits divers with disabilities
Dive Saba! Win a Trip for Two – Cottage Club / Saba Dive Center
Support Diveheart and Support People With Disabilities 5 day dive trip for two benefits divers with disabilities.
POWER OF THE POOL
By Annemarie Mannion
Naperville Magazine (August 2018)
Bill Bogdan cannot remember a time when he wasn’t in a wheelchair. The Mokena resident suffered neuroblastoma of the spine (a form of cancer that occurs most often in infants and young children) when he was eight months old, which left him a paraplegic with limited movement in his legs. Today, at the age of 48, he escapes that reality only when he steps into the weightless environment of a pool, lake or ocean.
“It’s the only place I can go where I don’t need my wheelchair,” says Bogdan, who revels in the freedom of movement provided when he is scuba diving.
Bogdan is a board member of Downers Grove–based Diveheart, a nonprofit dedicated to building confidence, independence and self-esteem in the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities.
Diveheart was founded in 2001 by Jim Elliott, who was motivated to find new challenges and experiences for his loved ones who were living with disabilities. His father was a disabled Vietnam War veteran and his oldest daughter Erin was born blind. After teaching his daughter to downhill ski, he thought scuba diving could potentially assist people with disabilities, both physical and cognitive, to have adventures and develop their can-do spirits.
“I thought if skiing can help people, I can only imagine how scuba diving would help,” he says.
People who struggle to move on land move more freely in the forgiving environment of the water where they can—sometimes for the first time—escape the confines of gravity.
“It’s the closest thing on earth to being in outer space. We call it inner space,” Elliott says.
Diveheart focuses on helping people take advantage of their assets, such as upper body strength or superior sight, to navigate in the water.
“We cater to their abilities, not their disabilities,” Elliott says.
The organization offers adaptive scuba experience programs for people with disabilities all over the world and has dedicated U.S. Diveheart teams in the Chicago area, Florida, Atlanta, Southern California, Dallas and Washington, D.C. The organization also trains “buddies,” who accompany participants in the water.
“Dive buddies learn to improve their skills and gain empathy as well,” Elliott says. “We run them through scenarios where they are working with a blind person, a paraplegic, a quadriplegic or an amputee. We teach them situational awareness and to always keep their eye on the adaptive diver and respond to [his or her] needs immediately.”
At a recent training session at the DoubleTree Suites in Downers Grove, Bodgan watched his 14-year-old daughter Hannah learn about scuba diving in preparation for a vacation. The family is planning to participate in a scuba diving trip—one of four the nonprofit is sponsoring in 2018—to Cozumel, Mexico, later this year.
“I want to get her involved in scuba diving,” says Bogdan. “My passion for scuba diving is going to be turned into a family trip.”
Diveheart can help cover some of the costs for people with disabilities who participate in the trips, through grants or by helping them raise funds.
Hannah enjoyed her introduction to scuba diving.
“I liked floating on my back and looking up at the water above me,” she says.
At the same time, Naperville resident Kevin Kovach was in the pool, learning how to become a scuba diving buddy for his 18-year-old daughter Katrina.
“I’m learning the skills to dive with my daughter, who has special needs,” Kovach says.
Bogdan often encourages other people with disabilities to try scuba diving or any other activity that sparks their interest.
“I always encourage people to find a passion,” he says. “Scuba has opened the world to me. It’s given me the attitude that if I can scuba dive, I can do anything.”
Read original article on Naperville Magazine website
Newsmakers Making A Difference: Jim Elliot, Diveheart
by Julie Mann
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Diveheart is taking people with disabilities to new heights by taking them to new depths, underwater.
Jim Elliot is the founder and President of the Diveheart charitable foundation, “that helps veterans and children and others with disabilities build confidence, independence and self esteem through scuba therapy.”
Diveheart trains people with disabilities at various pools in the suburbs. WBBM Newsradio caught up with Elliot at a hotel pool in Downers Grove with two military veterans who have benefited from his underwater therapy.
Chris McCanathan is a double amputee and has post traumatic stress disorder.
“I can take the prosthetics off and not feel like I’m not disabled, in a sense,” McCanathan said. “I served in Afghanistan and have super PTSD from that.”
Elliot said scuba therapy helps kids with autism, people with pain management and finds relief for veterans like McCanathan who suffer from anxiety brought on by PTSD.
“What we’ve seen is tremendous benefits in many areas. It’s physical therapy in zero gravity. The ambient pressure pressure helps kids with autism. If you get to 66 feet underwater there is an extra output of Serotonin in the body and that helps with pain management and anxiety,” Elliot said.
Diveheart has also help veteran David Garner who lost part of his leg to a heart condition.
“I learned you can do anything you want to do, even if you have a disability,” he said.
Elliot said they want the people they are teaching to experience what he calls the Astronaut moment.
“And that’s where they are hovering whether they are 10 feet under water or 100 feet underwater they breathe in and they go up and they exhale and they go down and they they are neutrally buoyant.”
Once the participant learns how to scuba dive, they have an opportunity to use their new skills on a trip to places like Key Largo or Cozumel.
Listen at WBBM Radio site.
Former Apalachicola resident, diver reflects on Thai cave rescue saga
Wilhelmina Stanton was brimming with excitement when she awoke to news of the cave-trapped Thai soccer team’s rescue Sunday.
“I was jumping up and down — I was super excited,” she said.
The former Apalachicola resident and professional diver couldn’t keep her eyes away from each new update about the 12 boys, called the Wild Boars, and their coach trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand.
Stanton, 35, is a former Apalachicola High student. She’s loved the water since she was small and now spends her days guiding people with disabilities underwater as the South Florida Team Lead for a nonprofit group, Diveheart.
Read full article on Tallahassee.com website.
Read full article on Diversity MBA Magazine website.
The Power of Scuba Diving for People with Disabilities
by Jay Shefsky
People with disabilities have been proving for years that no sport is off-limits. And whether or not an athlete is disabled, every sport can offer physical and emotional benefits.
The researchers have studied people learning to dive with Chicago-based nonprofit Diveheart. The all-volunteer group works with individuals who have a variety of physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD and more. It was founded in 2001 by Jim Elliott, who first saw the power of adaptive sports when he taught skiing to his daughter, who is blind. Diveheart’s programs, which are supported through fundraising efforts, has programs around the country and in the Caribbean. There is never a charge to participants.
We visited a session at a swimming pool in west suburban Aurora to learn more.
See full article and video on WTTW website