Reeve Spotlight: Cody Unser First Step Foundation

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 20, 2015 # Quality of Life Grant Spotlight

Cody Unser First Step Foundation

Anyone who doesn't consider extreme sports a major element in the definition of "quality of life" for people living with physical disabilities obviously doesn't know the Unser family -- and they certainly don't know Cody Unser.

As Cody puts it, living with paralysis is exhausting and daunting. When she entered rehab after becoming paralyzed from the waist down due to transverse myelitis, "it was all about the small things: learning to grasp, learning to dress and feed yourself, learning all the little daily activities you need to be able to do just to live your life. You start to worry: if this is so hard, how am I ever going to go to school, or even just the movies with my friends?"

"But," says Cody, "then you try something huge and seemingly impossible like scuba. It's hard, too. Traveling for it is hard, putting on the gear is hard, getting in the water is hard. It's overwhelming. But you do it. And it gets you out of your mindset that you can't do anything, that you are only defined by your chair. And suddenly you realize that nothing is truly impossible."

Three-time recipient of a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grant, Cody Unser's foundation -- the Cody Unser First Step Foundation, or CUFSF -- is continually redefining what people living with disabilities believe they can do, starting with the extreme sport of scuba diving.

Crazy, right? Not at all. Find out why.

Just announced: Cody Unser will be inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame, along with 5 other new Members. Dedicated to recognizing and honoring the contributions of women divers, the Women Divers Hall of Fame™ (WDHOF) is an international, non-profit, professional honor society whose members' achievements span a wide variety of fields including: The Arts, Science, Medicine, Exploration & Technology, Marine Archeology, Business, Media, Training & Education, Safety, Commercial & Military Diving, Free Diving, and Underwater Sports. Find out more about WDHOF.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.