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Monday, December 3, 2012

Abling The Disabled, Both And Out Of The Water

Salvatore Cimmino informed us that today, December 3rd, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to remove barriers to create a society that is inclusive and accessible to all.

"It’s a call for all countries, without exception, to provide all persons with the equal access they deserve and need...

...to make every effort to reach the goals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to eliminate discrimination and exclusion and to create societies that value diversity and inclusion
," explains Cimmino whose life work through his Swimming in the Seas of the Globe (A Nuoto Nei Mari del Globo) is to promote this worthy cause.

"By achieving these objectives we could bridge the gap between good intentions and actions that are long overdue: access to accommodation, access to employment, access to education, access to the technology that would allow all this."

Cimmino travels the world, attempting and completing dramatic, difficult swims to call attention to the needs of the disabled. From our perspective, there are few moments in the open water swimming world that are as dramatic and inspirational as a swimmer who is missing limbs or is otherwise disabled emerging from the sea or lake after completing an open water swims of any distance.

The smiles on their faces and the cheers from the crowds speak volumes about the joy that comes from the challenge and freedom that open water swimming can bring the disabled athlete.

Today also brings to mind the good work of Bruckner and Michelle Chase at the Ocean City Swim Club in partnership with Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation in Pomona, New Jersey. The innovative group works with spinal cord injury patients in the open water. These individuals (approximately 300,000 including over 40,000 soldiers in the United States) live much of their life on their back - and many of them are young. Spinal cord injuries are most common in men between 18 and 30 years of age. Through innovative programs with Chase duo, some of these individuals have the opportunity to paddle on long boards in the open water.

"The ability to lie prone on their stomach, safely aboard a paddle board, the individuals can enjoy the exercise and freedom of paddling in the open water. It is a wonderful experience and great exercise for them," says Chase.

Today is a reminder of the daily struggles that the disabled face, and also of the wonderful work that individuals like open water swimmers Cimmino and Chase do in and out of the open water.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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