Diveheart Makes Waves By Collaborating With Tourism Malaysia To Help People With Disabilities

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In October, Jim Elliott of Diveheart traveled to Putrajaya, Malaysia to give a presentation to officials who oversee Tourism Malaysia, an agency under the country’s ministry of tourism. Elliott shared Diveheart’s history, his sincere passion and buoyant enthusiasm for helping children and adults and an outline on how the nonprofit can further contribute.

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Jim Elliott, center, founder of Diveheart, talks with scuba therapy participants in Malaysia.

The Diveheart collaboration with Tourism Malaysia presents a significant move forward to promote Malaysia as an adaptive scuba training and diving destination for people of all abilities in Asia and beyond.

Jim Elliott, founder of the Downers Grove-based nonprofit Diveheart, sees no physical boundaries as his organization helps those with disabilities find confidence and inner and outer strength through educational scuba therapy.

While the nonprofit has been making an impact throughout the United States since its inception in 2001, it has recently made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Malaysia. In October,
Elliott traveled to Putrajaya, Malaysia to give a presentation to officials who oversee Tourism Malaysia, an agency under the country’s ministry of tourism. Elliott shared Diveheart’s history, his sincere passion and buoyant enthusiasm for helping children and adults and an outline on how the nonprofit can further contribute.

“The Diveheart collaboration with Tourism Malaysia presents a significant move forward to promote Malaysia as an adaptive scuba training and diving destination for people of all abilities in Asia and beyond.” said Elliott. “I told the officials that creating a Diveheart program for Malaysia could be the template for the rest of the world. I’m proud that Malaysia is taking the lead in adaptive scuba training, programing and scuba therapy research in Asia.”

The groundwork for a collaboration began in 2012 when Syed Abd Rahman, the founder and director of Kids Scuba, an organization that supports Diveheart in Malaysia, contacted Elliott about training adaptive divers. In March 2016, Rahman invited the nonprofit to conduct a scuba experience in Kuala Lumpur in a nearby swimming pool with some of Rahman’s staff.

With guidance and support from Elliott, Rahman has been overseeing the regular monthly pool scuba program and works closely with the University Malaya Medical Center’s (UMMC) Rehabilitation unit for Spinal Cord Injury SCI Patients. In October 2016, the program had its first UMMC SCI patients become Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Scuba Divers. Many of Diveheart’s UMMC Divers have shared their experiences in difference exhibitions and events throughout the country.

Earlier this year, Rahman helped Diveheart launch a program in the Borneo region.

“Syed has helped to usher in a new era in Malaysia and an appreciation of not defining people with disabilities not by their disability but by their abilities,” Elliott said.

For more information about Diveheart, please visit: http://www.diveheart.org

About Diveheart:
Diveheart is a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. The purpose of Diveheart is to provide and support educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person. We’ve discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we’re all equal. Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives. For information, visit http://www.diveheart.org

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Marie Lazzara
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