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 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.
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.
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!