Nonprofit helps people with disabilities find new freedom in scuba diving

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Some people scuba dive to explore the ocean, but many people with disabilities do it for a different reason -- Freedom. 

Adaptive divers are experiencing a whole new world thanks to some hard work and the help of the nonprofit Dive Pirates Foundation. Dive Pirates supports, trains, equips and provides dive travel to individuals with disabilities through Adaptive Scuba Diving.

Divers like Allison Nicola of St. Petersburg, Florida. She is paralyzed from the belly button down due to a snowboarding accident 16 years ago, but that isn’t stopping her from taking on new challenges. Because of the weightlessness that comes with being underwater, Allison is doing something she hasn’t done since she was a child -- somersaults.

"It helps me put things into perspective," she said. "Just because something seemingly bad happened, I can still make the most out of everything," Nicola told FOX 13. 

She’s hoping to raise enough money to go on the organization’s 13th annual adaptive divers trip where she will be surrounded by adaptive divers from across the country. Dive Pirates focuses on disabled military, law enforcement and first responder veterans, but the program is open to all medically qualified physically disabled people.

Why pirates? When disabled crew members were injured they were not banished from the ship. Traditionally, fellow pirates would fashion them peg legs, hooks, and patches so that they could remain on the crew and help find that elusive treasure. 

However, it appears these pirates have already found something more precious than gold. The adaptive divers and volunteers form a unique fellowship that breaks down barriers and often become friends for life. 

 

Watch the video to see these divers take on their adventure. 

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