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Divers With Disabilities To Dive With Pirates

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Paraplegic, amputees to enjoy the freedom and mobility of diving as Pirates “Conquer New Territory”

Jessica Goforth didn’t feel well and went to the emergency room after finishing her finals three years ago; the doctor sending her home to recover from the flu. Hours later her fiancé found her wrapped in a blanket, unable to get warm, her extremities turning blue. A massive strep infection cut off the circulation to her hands and feet; she later lost both legs below the knees and five fingers.

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Finishing her degree in wildlife biology and classified dive instruction from The Dive Shop in Little Rock, Arkansas, swimming with whale sharks is right up her alley.

Goforth is one of three adaptive (or classified) divers who will be heading out on the first of four trips this year as the re-designed effort of the Foundation (affectionately called Dive Pirates 2.0) strives to meet the needs of a growing base of first-time recipients and returning classified divers.

jessicas swim ankles 2

“The intent is to offer smaller trips throughout the year to take recipients, as well as find locations that would offer the best experience based on a classified diver’s needs,” explained Foundation President Barbara Thompson.

“I’m looking forward to this first trip to the Laguna Beach Resort, Utila, Honduras, a place that offers great diving and has gone the extra mile to make its facility more accessible for classified divers to enjoy.”

The crew of 15 divers, including Goforth, Adam Hood who suffered a motorcycle accident resulting in paraplegia, and past recipient Randy Smith who lost his leg in an accident, head to the island off the coast of Honduras May 9, 2015 for a weeklong adventure to enjoy the mobility of diving.

A long-time Dive Pirate friend and supporter, Troy Bodden, the owner of the Laguna Beach Resort, has made upgrades to the resort including an accessible cabana and paved walkways between the cabana and other main buildings.

Jessica and Nick

Jessica and Nick

“I’m hoping this trip will lead to more with the Dive Pirates as we have improved our resort at our own expense with a goal of giving back to injured military and others with disabilities,” said Bodden. “We are looking forward to a great week of diving exploring our coral reef teaming with life, and walls that are home to eels, grouper, and so much more. And I’m sure we will see some whale sharks!”

Dive Pirates 2.0 follows its Utila, Honduras Trip with its June trip to Cayman Brac, then Kona, Hawaii in September and Cozumel, Mexico in October. Info on all trips can be found at www.divepirates.org.

Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing scuba diving to persons with disabilities and joining them with mainstream divers. Its vision is to create a community of adaptive divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of scuba diving through education and overcoming obstacles. For more information about the foundation go to www.divepirates.org.

Laguna Beach Resort is ideally located on a lushly landscaped, private peninsula on the south central section of the tiny island of Utila. This remote, intimate property’s natural wood design portrays a rustically elegant setting for the perfect island getaway. For more information go to www.lagunabeachresort.info

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Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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