CODY UNSER FIRST STEP FOUNDATION

Rating: 5 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Health

Location: PO Box 56696 Albuquerque NM 87187 USA

Mission: The Cody Unser First Step Foundation is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising research funds, public awareness and quality of life for those afflicted with all forms of spinal cord-related paralysis. The Foundation will also address the cause, rehabilitation, prevention and cure for Transverse Myelitis, and freely affiliate with other medical, charitable and corporate entities to achieve these goals.
Target demographics: CUFSF’s main focus is to raise awareness for TM and paralysis, to establish Quality of Life programs through scuba diving, and to push scientific research.  With the number of people affected by TM and paralysis rising, the demand for the programs and initiatives set in motion by CUFSF, and the benefits of our future plans for the foundation, will be reaching levels that we would have never imagined.
Geographic areas served: Global
Programs:

***Quality of Life: "Cody's Great Scuba Adventures" and "Operation Deep Down" these programs are designed to use Scuba Diving as a tool for therapeutic and psychological value to promote healing.***

***Awareness initiatives: Awareness is an important priority due to the sense of urgency when faced with an auto-immune disorder. This includes first responder support for auto-immune disorder patients looking for resources and help. As part of this initiative, CUFSF plans to continue developing and maintaining a concrete and user friendly manual and WEB Portal that provides access to disability information. (Visit www.cufsf.org, CUFSF’s Facebook and Twitter). We also use more traditional forms of creating awareness such as hosting and supporting industry related symposiums and conferences.***

***Advocacy initiatives: Advocacy influences the outcomes of public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Our goal is to ensure that decisions made by federal and state governments are aligned with the needs of the general public, especially those with spinal cord-related injuries advocacy is imperative.***

***Medical research initiatives: CUFSF intends to maintain existing partnerships within the medical field as well as encourage collaboration with new hospitals and biotech organizations to bring technology and research programs to the forefront. This initiative will develop opportunities for the disabled community to participate in clinical trials, new treatments/remedies, medicinal therapies and activity-based therapies. More importantly, to prevent secondary conditions, we must be a voice promoting proper health and wellness for overall preventative care.***

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Cody & Shelley Unser of The Cody Unser First Step Foundation spends every waking hour helping others around the world. The Cody Unser First Step Foundation is thinking of creative ideas to help bring life back to disabled veterans and others with disabilities through Operation Deep Down and other projects. She inspires others with disabilities to move beyond their disability and give them the hope and dreams they thought they have lost due to that disability.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Having had Transverse Myelitis for 40 years it takes a toll on your body and mind. Cody and Shelley Unser and the Cody Unser First Step Foundation are an inspiration to keep one with an autoimmune disease or spinal cord injury motivated to keep going!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I met Cody in high school and still to this day look up to her as a role model. She is goal oriented and truly cares about helping others that are paralyzed and affected with TM. I went with her on a couple of trips around the country a few years ago where she spoke to, quite intimidating audiences I must say, about the importance of her organization in giving people with paralysis a chance to grow and learn. She is very well known in the State of New Mexico having spoken to the Governor about her wishes for the Foundation. She has also talked with President Bush as an advocate and a voice for disabled individuals. Wow! Everyone she has spoken to was touched by her story and wanted to help in any way possible. Amazing! She is a truly inspirational woman and has a passion to provide everyone with the opportunities they may be without if it wasn't for her Foundation such as scuba diving!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that Cody has taught me how to become a better person and realize that people can do anything that they set their minds to. I am studying to become a Social Worker and this has been a valuable lesson that I will take with me into my future practice.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide the organization more resources in order to reach out to as many people as possible and provide them with more opportunities. Her scuba trips are popular and that is just the beginning of what her foundation can do.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting and getting to know Cody. She became one of my best friends and helped me to see people in a different way - rather than looking at the wheelchair, to look at the individual.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AMAZING! They could not have been more nice. They were open to new ideas and help from multiple individuals - truly team players and goal oriented.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide more amazing opportunities for those that are disabled such as more amazing trips! Also, providing the individuals with scholarships would help more people be able to go that would not be able to afford it regularly.

Ways to make it better...

there were more resources to provide more staff and volunteers to help Cody and her family with the Foundation.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

not having enough resources.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Go Cody! Keep up the amazing work!!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

After seeing the documentary on Cody (CODY: The First Step) I knew I wanted to help this organization flourish! Once you begin volunteering with the Cody Unser First Step Foundation you can't stop! This a wonderful organization to be a part of. The first time I had the pleasure of working with them was during one of their 'Discover Scuba' events. To see the smiles and sense of self each participant was getting back, regardless of their disability, is a feeling that will stay with me forever. This organization, the people involved and the people it serves are simply amazing!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The Cody Unser First Step Foundation brings a light of hope to people who suffer from any type of diablity. It is amazing to see children and adults alike discovering that they can not only scuba dive...but that they can accomplish anything!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase their fundraising efforts so that they would be able to accomplish their short term goal of sending participants on another Scuba Trip and their long term goal of being (1) a leading voice for TM and (2) Scuba as a Quality of Life Program.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing the faces of the people light up when they discover that they can Scuba Dive and in turn accomplish anything.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AWESOME!! I cannot say enough about their passion and drive to make CUFSF better with each day. They all just have an endless amount of energy.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand the Quality of Life Programs (Discover Scube, Cody's Great Scuba Adventure, and Operation Deep Down), bring a stronger voice to TM, help in funding research for spinal cord disorders/injuries and in general reach and support a larger audience!!

Ways to make it better...

the organization had more funding for the programs as a whole.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

limited amount of resources.

One thing I'd also say is that...

CUFSF needs people to help spread the word and as Cody would say to, "Just Get Down There!"

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

Been there from the beginning and this Foundation is driven by passion, pure love and honor from it's own goal to walk again and all those who share the same life hurdles. They race to win, not to come in second but to win. And winning is finding a cure , a way to be back on there feet again .

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The years i have watched the hard work and dedication of it's founders,seen the acquirement,the films,the awards and the unbelievable number of bodies put in the water with very little money just to rise awareness's on spinal cord injuries say it all.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

Cody Unser is one of the most caring and brave women I have been blessed to know. I spent 4 years of college with Cody and I consider her one of my closest friends. Cody does not only impact the lives of other paralyzed individuals, but inspires and enlightens all those who meet her. Her charismatic personality allows her story to be not just heard, but understood by all who listen. Her story does not focus on what has happened to her, but what great things she has been able to do in spite of it. Paralysis is a difficult transition that most of the pubic have never taken a moment to try to understand. The Cody Unser First Step Foundation helps inform the pubic of their neighbors in chairs and helps those who are paralyzed find a new world behind their chair.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have first hand seen the impact Cody has been able to make on the people who have been fortunate enough to know her.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it so more wonderful work can be done by Cody and her team.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the joy Cody has brought to other's lives.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Enthusiastic!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make the world a better place.

Ways to make it better...

Cody's team had more resources to put the dream and vision in her head to reality

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

exposing the entire US to Cody's vision

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

For Cody the personal is political: she has taken her personal tragedy of being completely paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 12 by TM and become a tireless national advocate for not only stem cell research but the improvement of quality life through the organization she founded in her name, the Cody Unser First Step Foundation. She is as forceful in her advocacy of government officials and legislatures through education and public discourse as she is compassionate in her tireless support of other individuals who have been personally stricken by similar disabling illnesses. Cody has the ability to create opportunities to advance her aims, such as weaving together a college major that combined public advocacy with scientific education, giving her the ability to serve as both an instructor and translator for politicians, scientists, and fellow patients. She is not only a gifted writer, but also a charismatic and compelling public speaker, two abilities that will serve her well in her pursuit of a public health degree. As if by design, following a master plan conceived of while she was a pre-teenager, Cody has followed a carefully crafted journey that has taken her to the front steps of public health school in order to equip her with the necessary tools to effect change in the policies and legislation that have bearing on the lives of the millions worldwide whose lives have been altered by physical challenges. Armed with the ability to communicate, persuade and educate, which will be made more powerful with a knowledge of the public health industry, I am certain that Cody will change the world in ways that even she, despite her audacious hope, cannot yet fully appreciate. Cody will prove that you can reach for the sky from a seated position as well as from a standing one, and bring back stars to illuminate the darkest despair and show the way to a brighter future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The way it has touched my life and the lives of my colleagues and patients.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I first met Cody at the University of Redlands where she was a student of mine. When she was hit with TM at the age of 13, many would have given up. Her determination to make a difference in the lives of other disabled individuals is what most stands out in my mind. Through the dedication of many individuals, the foundation has touched the lives of numerous disabled persons through research, increased awareness, and the scuba program which allows participants to experience the freedom of movement often lacking in their everyday lives. This pushes participants to reach beyond their disabilities and to consider what is possible. To witness this transformation is something everyone should see. This non-profit is destined to have an even more tremendous impact in the future and I am thrilled to be part of it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have witnessed the joy on the faces of those participants in the scuba events as they move from the restriction of wheelchairs to the freedom in the water. This confidence in their own abilities may translate to many other areas of their lives.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Cody Unser First Step Foundation and its programs / Cody's Great Scuba Adventures and Operation Deep Down has been dedicated to Veterans and civilians with Disability's for over 10 years. Im a para and have become a certified PADI rec. diver and completed my HSA buddy diver certification through this organization. My wife is also a disabled veteran and both her and my son, age 15, are also certified. This program is the best of the best with profrofessional highly trained divers who are also Military Active or Retired and volinteer thier time to help the disabled community accross the USA.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Indy - 500 Armed Foces Week

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change anything.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The kindness that everyone shares and understanding of others with disability's.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Excelent plus. None other like them and they they do what it takes for each person.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Give all people with disability's a place like a wellness center and base for them to enjoy life and freedom on a differant scale by scuba diving.

Ways to make it better...

I was younger and knew about it 10 years ago

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Economy

One thing I'd also say is that...

Scuba gives you the opertunity to be on the same playing feild as any able body person. It allows freedom from your everyday stress and promotes great friendships and wellness.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

One year ago, CUFSF opened my eyes to many rewarding lessons. First, they introduced me to an exciting sport that does not see limitations. Cody inspired me to push myself beyond my own expectations, by scuba diving. The feelings of being "free" from the wheelchair were incredible. Now I take this experience of overcoming obstacles into my classroom in hopes that my message will inspire my students to push beyond their limitations. The results from this experience have touched more lives that just me, the scuba diver. It is a service that touches lives and spreads the message of hope and overcoming injuries, TOGETHER, one dive at a time. We're behind you Cody Unser!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

pushing myself beyond my own limitations.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

motivating, inspiring, and giving of their time and love in order to make a difference in the lives of those living with disability.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

This is a remarkable charity whose work touches so many lives in so many ways. Transverse Myelitis is such a mysteriously devastating disease and the Cody Unser First Step Foundation gives hope to people stricken with TM or suffering from any spinal cord injury that there will be a brighter tomorrow.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the hope that it provides for people of all ages, from all over the world and many different circumstances.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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