SUDS – Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba – is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
SUDS was established in February 2007 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. The SUDS programme is designed to help improve the lives of service members (who have a permanent physical disability requiring adaptation) by teaching them to scuba dive.
Scuba diving can have a profound positive mental effect on anyone learning to dive. (Able-bodied and disabled). The person can discover what they are capable of, what they can achieve and it gives them a sense of purpose.
Scuba diving can also build camaraderie and friendships.
I have said this a number of times. “Scuba diving has the ability to create such strong friendships, it is though you are bound together by hoops of steel”.
For amputees, scuba diving instantly gives the diver back their freedom, because they can move in 3 dimensions.
“I feel like I am complete again”
SUDS is therefore not all about the diving. It is a catalyst to greatly improve a veteran’s quality of life, and the process can mentally help the diver with other aspects of their life too.
“I can do flips, I can do anything. I can go upside down, I can do handstands. I feel like I am not handicapped… I feel completely fully able-bodied.”
Later this month a unique piece of shipwreck history – a dish from the Andrea Doria – will be auctioned. The funds raised will be donated to SUDS to help injured military personnel with their rehabilitation.
On 25 July 1956, the SS Andrea Doria, an Italian steamship sank off Massachusetts, after colliding with the Swedish ocean liner MS Stockholm in dense fog.
The Doria was soon on the “bucket list” for many technical divers, and a number of artifacts were recovered from her, including items of China.
The dish was recovered from the wreck of the Andrea Doria by Deep Sea Detective and Shadow Diver, Richie Kohler.
If you would like a piece of Andrea Doria history, whilst supporting SUDS, simply submit a closing bit to Carla Chatterton. You can email Carla Chatterton with your bid, questions or donations.
Want to know more about SUDS? Newsweek wrote a fascinating article about the valuable work SUDS does.