On October 16th, as Regional Manager of PADI EMEA, I participated in one of the most exciting events of my career, the Blue Week organized by Diabete Sommerso Onlus – PADI Center in the wonderful Ustica Island in partnership with Blue Diving Ustica – PADI Center.
I was honored to meet this very affectionate group of divers, all bound by a great passion: love for the sea and diving, albeit with the difficulty of their illness: diabetes.
We have presented to this PADI group and Project Aware and especially the 4 pillars of change of PADI, in particular: “Health and Wellness” in tune with their activities:
Pillar of Health and Well-Being: point the spotlight on incredible stories of success over adversity, illnesses and difficulties that testify the healing power of diving. Through diving, many people have found hope for their future and we want to inspire so many others to experience such personal transformations and healings, both mentally and physically.
I dove with them, and I had the pleasure of meeting Andrea Fazi, one of the leaders and organizers of this group and their President: Valentina Visconti, a woman with a contagious smile, whom I thank for the emotions she gave me with these words:
I love scuba – I love myself
Scuba + Health + Wellness. The message comes strong and clear from the first moment in scuba diving: to dive, you need to be healthy and well-trained to deal with demanding tasks, not eating too much, nor drinking alcohol or smoking. If you are not fit, it is best to postpone the dive. These rules apply to all divers, at any level and anywhere in the world, but they are of greater value to all those people who have health issues but are so in love with the sea that they are willing to get in the game and enjoy it all the way.
Type 1 Diabetes (DT1) is a chronic illness that usually occurs during childhood or early adulthood. For causes that are still unknown, insulin-producing pancreas cells are self-destructing. Insulin is a fundamental hormone because it regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. People who do not produce insulin are forced to take it through injections or I.V.
A person’s life with diabetes is characterized by check-ups of glucose levels in the blood and insulin intake, in an eternal attempt to maintain balance between daily life and correct glycemic values. It’s a bit like keeping the perfect buoyancy underwater: you have to constantly keep an eye on yourself and the surrounding environment, use your head, and make the necessary adjustments. Losing diabetes control is not so difficult, and the consequences can be dangerous. For this reason, underwater has traditionally been denied to diabetics.
Today the taboo has been broken and people with diabetes can live the sea freely. A solution was found. Or, in other words, we rely on the general rule that one should dive only under good health conditions, applying it to the Nth power. To feel really good, a person with a chronic illness like diabetes must be able to perfectly take care of itself, study the rules of the metabolism, and apply them to become profoundly aware of the disease and of itself. A difficult journey that forces you to get out of the “comfort zone” of your daily habits and prove themselves.
It’s not easy. It is not immediate.
But love and passion for the sea are stronger than the difficulties.
It is the desire to fully live the sea, to explore it, to discover the unknown in the blue
It is the desire to fly in the water, to regulate its breath with fluids.
It’s the thrill of confronting a hostile environment.
These are the reasons why divers with diabetes take care of themselves and improve themselves. One improves himself to go underwater, but what you learn in the water becomes everyday life and a better future
Diving teaches us that there is an alternative world. Just put your head underwater.
And then raise it, to face the difficulties
NDR: The Underwater Diabetes Project, from which we have the association with the same name, was initiated 13 years ago and allowed many boys and girls with diabetes to get the scuba diving certificate, and above all to improve their health through passion for the sea .
Be like the sea which smashes onto the rocks and then goes back and tries again to break down that unbreakable barrier never tired of trying. (Jim Morrison)