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

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  

14 people found this review helpful

We are a passionate group of volunteers working towards a cure for paralysis and in the mean time we provide adaptive scuba diving as a quality of life program with Cody's Dive Team, operation Deep Down. The Dive Team is composed of 100% volunteers, most of them veterans, who train dive professionals to become HSA certified, and provide disabled people with an opportunity to Discover Scuba and then pursue their Scuba Certification. Watch our scuba videos on YouTube if you want to be impressed by our dedicated volunteers!

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

the smiles on the faces of all the disabled participants that we have put in the water. To see disabled children, teens, young adults and our veterans out of their wheel chairs experiencing the freedom of neutral buoyancy that scuba provides - wow!

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

find a volunteer grant writer to help us with funding so we can provide adaptive scuba experiences to all of our disabled participants in the warm open waters of the Caribbean. They would love the opportunity to scuba dive while discovering marine life

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

Changing lives one dive at a time...

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

the most dedicated, kind, professional, and generous people I have ever known.

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

fund our mission of advocacy, awareness, and quality of life for many years. We could provide annual trips for disabled certified divers, train those who are not, and finish our medical study on the effects scuba has on paralysis.

Ways to make it better...

we had the funding to take our disabled participants to warm open water so they could discover the joy of interaction with marine life while collecting the data needed to finish our medical study on the effects of scuba on paralysis.

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

Funding - Convincing all Adaptive Scuba Programs to be inclusive of the disabled person's dive buddy during training and trips - Adaptive Scuba is more than training in the pool it is experiencing the open water, the ocean, the freedom...

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

The Cody Unser First Step Foundation will continue our progress no matter what challenges are faced. We've been doing this for 10yrs and look forward to the next 10yrs of service to your communities.

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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