(NewsUSA) – Since 1976, Diveheart founder and president Jim Elliott knew that scuba diving was therapeutic and beneficial for people in general, and especially for individuals with disabilities.
The son of an Army veteran with a disability and the father of a blind daughter, Elliott was tutored through boy scouts by a one arm scout master and walked his Cub Scout friend Timmy, who had cerebral palsy, to school to discourage bullies. These experiences gave Elliott a solid foundation for working with individuals with a variety of disabilities and the sometimes less-than-friendly world around them.
As a young journalist at the College of DuPage, Elliott had no special interest in scuba diving, but took a scuba class in case he ever had to interview someone like the famous diver Jacques Cousteau. It was love at first dive! By 1997, Elliott had spent decades guiding and teaching blind skiers; he then became a scuba diving instructor and worked with people with a variety of disabilities.
In 2001, Elliott founded Diveheart, a non-profit dedicated to serving children, veterans, and others with all types of disabilities, using adaptive scuba and scuba therapy as tools to help them “Imagine the possibilities” in their lives. Elliott never thought that Diveheart would be more than a small local charity. However, by the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, Diveheart was operating approximately 200 pool programs and scheduled to lead 14 adaptive scuba trips for people with disabilities.
The forced closures during the pandemic allowed time for reflection, and Elliott and colleagues conceived a plan for the world’s deepest warm water therapy pool facility. This facility would be a destination to be used for research, rehabilitation, education, training, and provide vocational opportunities for veterans and others, not only with disabilities, but of all abilities.
Fast forward to 2023! Two patents later and millions of dollars in pro-bono services and land donation guarantees, Diveheart has completed a feasibility study and revealed its deep pool design in the hope of garnering millions of dollars to build the world’s first deep warm water therapy pool facility in the United States.
To learn more about this multimillion-dollar project that will change the world for those with disabilities, visit www.Diveheart.org.