On Saturday, August 3, scuba divers and representatives of the dive industry will meet for Dive Hope 2019 at White Star State Park in Gibsonburg, Ohio. A celebration of scuba and life, Dive Hope’s mission is to bring divers together in a fun, social environment while raising money for local patients undergoing breast cancer. Now in its 11th year, Dive Hope is a celebration of scuba and life: a strong example of the diving community working together toward a common goal.
Article by John Tapley; photos courtesy Brian Miller
Dive Hope was founded by seasoned scuba expert Brian Miller and is managed by US Dive Shows, which Miller leads.
“The first time we did it, we thought we would try to put together a social event to get people out and get scuba diving – to get travelers to dive locally. We decided it needed an admission to do so – to commit a couple of bucks and registration – and we didn’t know what to do with the money; we didn’t want to just pocket it. We decided to contribute the money we raised to breast cancer, and the year after that, we decided to do it on a bigger scale: raising money for breast cancer.”
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s something I really enjoy doing, and it’s in our family. Another event for motorcyclers out in California, Ride for Life, is put together by my niece every year. Hundreds of riders get together and support individuals at the City of Hope leukemia treatment facility. That’s what got me inspired: my grandniece was one of the first people Ride for Life raised money for; she’s now at least 10 years through her leukemia. She’s very strong.”
Dive Hope has raised funds for several breast cancer charities and organizations, and currently works with the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio (BCFOhio): a volunteer organization of professionals, which issues grants to individuals in treatment for breast cancer. A statewide, independent non-profit organization, BCFOhio provides emergency funding for breast cancer patients, covering critical expenses such as housing and medical co-pays. BCFOhio volunteers also help patients manage day-to-day activities and responsibilities, including grocery shopping, child care, tax prep, and more. BCFOhio expresses six core tenets: access, information, choice, respect, accountability, and improvement.
“They also issue $1,000 grants to individuals. Typically, we raise enough for 15 grants per year,” says Miller.
Throughout the day, guests will enjoy food, fun, and fellowship, and capture the spirit of scuba diving through commemorative t-shirts, caps, and other apparel. Participants can enter a raffle drawing, silent auction, and treasure hunt replete with prizes, including dive gear provided by Aqua Lung, Apeks Diving, and Mark V, and major trips to diving destinations around the world courtesy organizations including Aggressor Liveaboard, Volivoli Beach Resort, and Waidroka Beach Resort. A photo session, a BBQ lunch, and exhibits from local dive businesses round out the day of adventure and giving.
Dive Hope is made possible through volunteer work and a drive toward helping people afflicted with breast cancer. Long-time local supporters include Jeff and Ian Davis of Aqua Hut International; Patrick Heschel, owner of Patrix’s Scuba; and Deep Blue Adventures travel agent Michelle Patterson.
Says Jeff, speaking of Aqua Hut’s involvement with Dive Hope:
“We’ve been involved since the very beginning. We bring all the equipment (like pink water bottles) in and Aqua Lung ships it to our stores and we handle it for months. We have clients who will go there to buy equipment at a cheaper price, and I might lose some gear sales, but more importantly, the money is going toward breast cancer research and people. We recommend our clientele to get involved: everything we can do to help Brian.”
White Star State Park has always been Dive Hope’s venue, and over a decade later, continues to impress participants. Its centralized location allows divers from all over the state to conveniently converge in one location, and local dive operators often use the park’s expansive quarry for training courses.
“There’s plenty of parking,” says Jeff, “and for people who don’t want to dive that day, they can come to the event and don’t have to pay [for quarry access], which is nice to get supporters from families: there’s an advantage at White Star. It’s all about working as a family.”
Working as a dive community – as a family – toward a common goal, Dive Hope showcases what divers can accomplish when banded together. Show organizers are looking forward to seeing how the event inspires others in kind; and how far-reaching the Dive Hope mission will go.
“The more we can do this, the more it brings to diving,” adds Jeff. “Hopefully down the road we can take it from Dive Hope to foundations that help promote stopping shark finning and other things: trying to get divers involved to do more.”
Dive Hope 2019 begins at 9:30 am and ends around 4 pm. Entry to White Star State Park’s scuba diving opportunities costs $20 per diver.
For more details on Dive Hope, including ongoing information, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DIVEHOPE. More information on White Star State Park can be found at www.whitestarquarry.com. And, for details on BCFOhio and its mission, visit www.bcfohio.org.