Scuba Diving

Cody Unser

Founder, The Cody Unser First Step Foundation / PADI Advanced Open Water Diver

Biography

Cody Unser, a scion of Indy 500 racing greats, founded The Cody Unser First Step Foundation at the age of 13 to raise awareness, medical collaboration and quality of life for Transverse Myelitis, the autoimmune condition that left her paralyzed in 1999. Her foundation's focus on mainstreaming adaptive scuba for over a decade and its potential as a therapeutic tool in exercise science is creating a buzz in the medical and dive industries.

Through her foundation, she established Cody’s Great Scuba Adventure, which uses scuba diving as a therapeutic and psychological tool for people living with different forms of paralysis. Her new documentary, “Sea of Change,” explored the neurological and psychological effects of scuba on a group of chosen paralyzed veterans. Unser continues to "change lives one dive at a time" and be the vehicle to promote and educate communities about the foundations quality of life adaptive scuba program.

Unser has become a leading advocate for people living with disabilities and spends much of her time traveling across the country to deliver keynote speeches, attend medical symposia and help other grassroots organizations that have similar missions.

Unser was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. where she is pursuing her masters in public health policy at George Washington University.

Hometown

Albuquerque, New Mexico
United States

Career Highlights

  • Certified Peer Mentor, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
  • US News and World Report Patient Advocate Writer
  • Women Divers Hall of Fame Inductee, 2016
  • Red Cross Hero Award, New Mexico, 2012
  • National MS Society, “Spirit of Da Vinci” Award, 2011
  • “CODY” Documentary with Christopher Productions, for PBS/Theatrical, 2009
  • University of Redlands “Global Impact Award,” 2009
  • President Gerald Ford “People Helping People” Award, 2006
  • Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame “Emerging Leader” Award, 2006
  • Grand Prix Americas Foundation Special Achievement Award, 2003
  • Established The Cody Unser First Step Foundation, 1999

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