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Olympian Missy Franklin gets scuba certification for a good cause

1:12 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - It's a fair bet that Cameron Forshee will always remember his 7th birthday. He picked a day at the Denver Aquarium.

"I love looking at all the fish," he said as he pressed his nose to the glass.

He wouldn't have thought to ask to see a scuba diver in honor of turning seven.

But when Cameron recognized the young woman in full scuba gear in the tank, he squealed, "She is Missy Franklin!"

He waved his friends over. "She is famous. She went to the Olympics and she won."

There among the fish and manufactured coral, were five time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin and her best friend Abby Cutler. They were finishing their scuba certification.

"It was really daunting at first we were like, oh my gosh!" Cutler said.

By the second dive, the friends were up at the glass dancing the robot and the worm.

"She's so fun," Cameron laughed. "She is amazing!"

Franklin loved it too.

"They were the cutest kids," Franklin said. "You would put your hand up and they try and put it with you."

It was fun. It was also for a much bigger purpose.

"Our whole mission is to help bring awareness to help people with disabilities, Boulder filmmaker Kurt Miller said.

He has a non-profit organization, http://www.makeahero.org/

His latest movie, The Current, is about the freedom water brings to people with disabilities. They will go on scuba diving trips to experience the ocean and what he calls "it's healing power."

These people are heroes already," Miller said. "What we want them to do is motivate other people who may be recently disabled to realize that their lives aren't over."

There is an inspiring cast. Mallory Weggemann was paralyzed at 17 years old. She went on to win gold at the Paralympics games in London. Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer, survived a shark attack. She lost an arm. Anthony Robles is a NCAA wrestler who competes with one leg. Missy Franklin, joined the project is an athlete ambassador for the movie.

"For water to be such a great way for everyone to equal," Franklin said. "As soon as you get down there everyone is exactly the same. It doesn't matter if you have an amputated arm or a leg or you have all four limbs. We are all exactly the same."

It is a message they hope will have the depth and reach of the water and touch the lives of anyone who will one day see the movie.

Cheryl Preheim, KUSA

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