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Paralympian accomplishes dream of scuba diving
Representing Canada was a dream come true for Winnipeg Paralympian Jared Funk.
He worked to win a place representing Canada at the Paralympics, taking home medals in the London, Athens and Beijing games.
Now he's set his sights on scuba diving.
"It's freeing," Funk said. "You're open there, you're in the water floating around and you can do whatever you want."
But making this dream come true wouldn't be easy.
"I called a couple of different dive centres and none of them really had good answers for me,” he explained.
Then he called Winnipeg's Blue Oasis Dive Centre.
"I'll never forget our first conversation over the phone," recalled Jason Herlick, owner of Blue Oasis. "Cause he's like, ‘I'm interested in learning to scuba dive but there's a little problem’. ‘I’m like, and that is?’ He's like, ‘I’m in a wheelchair’. I'm like, ‘I'm down for it’."
It took some experimentation – they had to find a buoyancy vest to help Jared roll him over on his back so he could breath. Then, they had to find special paddles, so he could move through the water with his forearms instead of his legs – and it worked.
"I'm always used to stressful situations, playing the game,” Funk said. "It was an easy transition to when you're in the water, just don't panic, and just breathe."
He is breathing easy now, enjoying the sensation of standing on his own for the first time since that fateful accident. He said he is proving to himself there aren’t any obstacles he can't overcome.