It seems like only yesterday that Donna came to us to start her training to complete a sponsored scuba dive as this year's challenge. A challenge that she has taken by the horns and driven forwards with passion. I wrote about her training only a few weeks ago, and she really has progressed exponentially.
Yesterday (3rd June 2018) marked the occasion where Donna finally took to open water and completed her dive as promised, and what a day it was! A group of members from Sub C Divers joined Donna in the water, to help ease her nerves and to be there to witness all her hard work and training come together for the first time.
After a quick paddle to take some pictures and explaining the dive plan to Donna, Dive Leader Mike Court brought Donna back up to the rest of the group to brief the remainder of the dive team on the dive plan and to give a quick overview of how the photos would go. Believe me, it's not easy trying to get several buddy pairs prepped and ready to go at the same time. Especially when several of them had new kit and weighting to sort out!
We swam Donna out to the 2m training platform, to give her a feel for the water at a depth she has encountered in her pool training. We hoped that this would help her feel more at ease, and it was a great platform for grabbing a couple of group photos before moving onto the rest of the dive.
BSAC Dive Leader Mike Court has overseen all of Donna's training since day one. He has personally seen her confidence come along leaps and bounds since she first jumped in the pool on her trydive session.
It's nice to see when a group of people come together for such a fantastic cause. Sub C Divers is a fantastic club to be a part of, thank you to everyone that got involved and supported Donna.
Once all the pictures were taken on the platform, Mike and our Diving Officer Alf Draper then took Donna a little deeper and further out from the quarry shore to allow her to really experience what diving has to offer. For non-divers, it's hard to realise the pressure changes that your body goes through, especially in the first 10m of water the pressure changes to double than that on the surface, and this can be the trickiest point for equalising, especially when all your used to is a slight bit of pressure at the bottom of a 2m pool. Even at 3m deep, pressure can become very uncomfortable, if not painful. Donna managed to overcome this pressure and finally came to 5m, a depth over double what she had experienced in the pool.
Upon getting out, Donna was debriefed on the dive by Mike and Alf, and I had the opportunity to speak with her about what she had just experienced.
Looking back on my training in the pool only starting a few weeks ago the feeling is surreal. I want to say a massive thank you to Sub C Divers for their support in my challenge this year. Without them, it just wouldn't have been possible. I have never dived before, so training beforehand was definitely needed, and that is where Sub C came in. The dive tested me to my limit, and I had to overcome some initial fears but I managed to compose myself and do a successful dive with the help of Mike and Alf. I have met a great bunch of people who I hope to be able to stay in contact with.
At the time of writing, Donna has raise a staggering £1,230 for The Christie with more being donated day by day. We are very proud of what Donna has achieved and we are very grateful for all of our members who supported Donna. You can of course still donate and support this fundraiser via the just giving page.
After her dive in the morning, Donna was eager to get back in the water, and decided to stay topside having a snorkel around the quarry with one of our younger members who was more than happy to accompany her around.
Once everyone was out and dry, we retired to the water's edge to have some group photos. reflecting on a day that couldn't have gone better. A very successful dive for Donna, a great days diving for all of the divers in the water and we were even joined by our latest Ocean Diver trainees who, of course, had to follow Sub C tradition and jump in the quarry after their dives.
Overall fantastic day, for a very worthy and important cause, we'd do it all again in a heartbeat!
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the club for supporting Donna and such a worthwhile cause. Lots of people are affected by this devastating disease, everyone is likely to know at least one person who has been affected by it. The more we can do to help the amazing people at research and support charities such as The Christie, the sooner we can free the world of cancer.
On our dive logs, we are required to put the divers' qualification, and for Donna, there was nothing more fitting than 'STAR' because that is what she is. She's an inspiration to both myself and the many people dealing with cancer day in and day out. Through all this, I've made a new special friend.
I'd like to give a big congratulations to Donna for completing this dive. Seeing you through your training to finally getting into the water has been an inspirational journey, I hope you can treasure this memory of the dive and hope it helps you to keep challenging yourself for this amazing cause. Well done Donna!
I'd also like to give a quick shoutout to the team at Capernwray Dive Centre who helped facilitate this event, wouldn't have been possible without your assistance and cooperation. Thank you!