CUFSF 2016 Year Newsletter 
Road Trip! From Cali to the East Coast, Back to the Southwest 
Mind You...During an Election Year
Dear Supporters and Volunteers,
     Wow!  What a year it has been for the Cody Unser First Step Foundation!  The title of this newsletter is so on point as we made lots of waves on the road in different parts of the country. Whether it was spreading Awareness of Transverse Myelitis and the subset Acute Flaccid Myelitis, being on Advocate for the sexual and reproductive health care for women with disabilities, or scuba diving with the kids from all over Indiana in the open ocean to improve their Quality of Life, 2016 wasn't short of events. Enjoy reading, watching and learning about all we accomplished in 2016.  I am so excited for what the New Year brings and the connections we will make! We hope to make more waves in 2017 and that you consider us when thinking about organizations to donate to.           Love Ya', Cody  XOXOXOXO
A Round of Applause!
 -Congratulations to CUFSF President, Shelley Unser  Al Unser III, future CUFSF Dive Instructor, for becoming PADI ADVANCED Open Water Divers!
-Shout out to Brad Thompson for being promoted to Lieutenant of the In dianapolis Fire Department! Brad and his wife Dawne continue to support CUFSF as volunteers!  We love you both!

Sexual & Reproductive Health Care for Women With Disabilities
-An Ongoing
 Advocacy Effort
May 2016-Cody Unser spoke in Washington, DC at the American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology about the barriers of care for women with disabilities.  This presentation was then a repeat at the Southwest Conference on Disabilities this Fall.  To be continued for Grand Round for University of New Mexico Med students in the New Year.
"J Tank"-Courtney 
CUFSF won the Judges Pick Award of a spin-off competition of the TV Show "Shark Tank" at Cody's friend Courtney Woodard's company Janus Capital Group. A great example of corporate giving! Thanks Courtney for picking CUFSF to be one of the top charities involved! 
"A Champion's Spirit"-KOB Channel 4

Sports anchor, JP Marrieta took the plunge with Cody Unser and CUFSF Dive Team to try the spirit of the Summer Olympics! He featured Cody's story & how Scuba Diving saved her life as well as why she brings it to others with disabilities!
US News and World Report
Stay up to speed on Cody's patient advocacy articles! Cody is writing about a wide range of disability issues including sexual & reproductive health, quality of life, veterans, and accessibility, basically everything she is passionate about! Look for bi-monthly articles and watch our Facebook page for the day it posts or click on this 
One of CUFSF wonderful and dedicated volunteers, Michele Monsam received a grant from Intel Corp. which matched her hours of volunteering.  Michele, we love you!

Happy Birthday and thanks a bunch, Jill Levin!
CUFSF's president, Shelley Unser's long time friend, hosted a fundraiser for her birthday party for 3 charities close to her heart. She chose CUFSF to be one for her friends & family to donate to. Love you Jill!

Divers Alert Network
Alert Diver Magazine valued Cody's words about the future of Adaptive SCUBA in regards to safety, what dive professionals should know working with people with disabilities and that  
CUFSF "Changing Lives One Dive at a Time" Key Largo, FL- April 18-22
From all over Indiana, these young adults with various disabilities were challenged by the Open Ocean in Key Largo, FL in 2016.  This trip would not have been possible without the Quality of Life Grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation which was matched by Newman's Own Foundation. The fund-raising continued with heart-centered Indiana community businesses large and small, individual donors who put money into a Go-Fund Me Campaign and of course the dive industry with Divers Alert Network (DAN), Aqua Lung and the  CEO of PADI, Drew  Richardson who paid for the celebratory dinner.  Please read the press release and watch Cody's sister Shannon Unser's teaser "Keys Short"...soon to be a short film in 2017!
"Keys Short"-YouTube

PADI AmbassaDiver 

-Our founder, Cody Unser, has become part of PADI's team of AmbassaDivers! PADI has embraced and supported CUFSF's Adaptive SCUBA program for several years, whether it was providing assistance with Discover SCUBA events for people with disabilities in community pools across the country, or leveraging PADI's dive stores in a tropical location as they did for the "Changing Lives One Dive at a Time" Key Largo, FL trip. Cody said, "Having CUFSF's mission of spreading Adaptive SCUBA around the world be recognized by a global corporation that harnesses and promotes passions and dreams of the underwater world is such a powerful collaboration.  I am very honored. PADI CEO Drew Richardson reaches out to those who make a difference for the improvement of the dive industry". PADI recognized all AmbassaDivers and spoke of how each AmbassaDiver is valuable in many ways not just for PADI but for the dive industry as a whole at the DEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV, November 2016.  It was also so great to see Scott and Lynn Taylor, owners of A1-Scuba & Travel Aquatics Center! Check out PADI's 50th Anniversary Video


Women Divers Hall of Fame Inducts Cody Unser!!!
- WDH OF is "an i nternational non-profit professional honor society whose member contributions span a wide variety of fields including: the arts, science, deep sea exploration, underwater archaeology, medicine, free diving, equipment technology, cave diving, wreck diving, military diving, commercial diving, media, training and education, and business". Cody was officially pinned and inducted into this incredible group of smart women at the Beneath the Sea dive show in Secaucus, NJ April 2016.  Cody said, "I was so honored to become a Sister of the Sea! These women come from different backgrounds and have diverse stories to tell, but as you become apart of this great organization, you all morph into the same powerful and academic mindset of caring for our underwater world.  These women know how to sing karaoke but they also know how to map the ocean.  We Sea Sisters Rock!". Here's the 
Albuquerque Journal  featuring Cody's induction as well as the WDHOF press release.  

Community Outreach 
-This was an incredible year for CUFSF with our efforts in community outreach. From the University of New Mexico  Adaptive Sports Festival at the Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque, NM to participating in the Health Fair in Farmington, NM to encourage members of the community living with disabilities to participate in quality of life activities, our CUFSF vehicle roamed everywhere! We were also in Long Beach, CA at the Aquarium of the Pacific for the Abilities Festival where Cody once again dove in the tank to talk to the crowd on the outside, check out 
Shannon Unser's video During the summer, Cody also donated some of her wheelchairs, wheels, and parts she had obtained throughout the years that would go to kids who need & will love them.  Thanks Jeff Hoehn, who is the Executive Director of the Carrie Tingley Foundation and Steve Brennan for picking them up from the CUFSF home office.  

No Barriers Summit 2016! 
June 23-26, Copper Mountain, CO. CUFSF provided No Barriers' participants with the freedom of SCUBA at the pool in the Athletic Club. Bill and Michele Monsam and Kelly Collins from CUFSF Dive Team "Operation Deep Down" did a fantastic job! This trip also included my younger brother Joey and is friends as volunteers (Joey was more excited about meeting Amy Purdy, the Paralympic Gold Medalist). We embodied the No Barriers motto, "What's Within You is Stronger than What's in Your Way"! Check out Joey's friend, Wyatt Daskalos's video below and also check out No Barriers 2017- Lake Tahoe, CA June 1-4 ...CUFSF will be there waiting for you in the pool! 

The Cody Unser First Step Foundation | No Barriers Summit 2016
The Cody Unser First Step Foundation | No Barriers Summit 2016


Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)
In 2016 the Cody Unser First Step Foundation received several calls from around the country from families recently diagnosed with the subset of Transverse Myelitis called Accute Flaccid Myelitis. 
CDC Information on AFM These families are strong and determined to figure out life regardless of what the prognosis is.  This newsletter would like to highlight two kids in particular, Kiko and Skyla, whose families reached out to CUFSF for support and guidance.  Cody got to even see Kiko in Denver, CO and hopes to meet Skyla soon.  Please keep on eye out for the article featuring them in Cody's patient advocate blog in US News and World Report.  But for now, check out the news piece where Cody shares about AFM and how crucial the research, reporting, surveillance, and support is for these families. 

Shelley Unser, President, The Cody Unser First Step Foundation   Office:  505-999-9550
P.O. Box 56696, Albuquerque, NM  87187

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Happy New Year Everyone! We appreciate all your support and donations! Please think of us in 2017...our mission is big, 100% volunteer and make lasting impacts!!!

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