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 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!
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!
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 .
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.
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.
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!
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.
Cody Unser's First Step Foundation is inspirational. Cody is a brave young woman who shares her story and inspires others to understand and move beyond their disabilities to achieve a better quality of life!
Continue doing great work, Cody!
What can I say...this organization and these people are fantastic! I've been fortunate to have spent time with the Unser's, their friends the Monsam's, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and many others connected to CUFSF. They are all tireless, dedicated, and have the common goal of giving a hand up, not a handout to their fellow human beings. I'm honored to be part of their mission and look forward to the continuing efforts to bring awareness that anything is possible.
I would like to thank the Cody Unser Foundation for supporting our Disabled and Paralyzed Veterans here at the Albuquerque VA Medical Center with PADI and HSA Scuba Certification. Volunteer Bill Monsam drove me more than 5 hours to Balmoreah State Park for my open water scuba certification. I have seen first-hand how scuba diving opens up a whole new world for our disabled veterans. I am both a disabled veteran and a recreation therapist and I will be forever grateful to this organization for open up the underwater sea life to me. It has provided me with many hours of sheer joy. Thank you for your genrosity and for remembering our Veterans who served and continue to serve our country.
These folks know the meaning of hard work, tenacity and grassroots! Committed individuals who know what it takes to make things happen for people with disabilities. Highly recommend them for funding.
The Cody Unser First Step Foundation is a role model for other charities when it comes to facilitating quality of life program - Adaptive Scuba Diving for the disabled. They created a dive team, trained two course directors, their programs are for the disabled person and a dive buddy of choice (family member, friend, caregiver), and they provide dive trips. Other adaptive programs focus just on the disabled person and once they're trained they don't have the support system to continue scuba diving. I volunteer weekly for CUFSF and I love the people I work with - they are truly heros for communities they help nationwide!
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!