Shark Bait Program
MOST people want to stay away from sharks as much as
possible, but a group of kids in Corinda want to become
shark bait. Each Saturday for the next six weeks, a
group of Montrose Access clients are practising scuba
diving in a swimming pool before they dive in a reef
tank right next to the sharks at Sea World.
It's a mean feat for anyone, let alone these kids, aged
eight to 14, who also have the life limiting condition
of muscular dystrophy which weakens the muscles.
Co-ordinator of the Shark Bait Kids program, Sue Nicklin,
said scuba diving was a way for the kids to feel free,
without being in the usual confines of their wheelchair.
"There's a lot of benefit emotionally," she said.
"Essentially their disease is a downhill disease,
there's no way they can stop going downhill. But this
gives them mobility once they've lost it on the surface.
Local businessman, David Frangos, Managing Director of
David Long & Associates, Builders, believes in the
program so much that his company has become the major
sponsor for the Shark Bait Kids. Mr Frangos said
very few people know about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
or the program so he thought it was time for the company
to "step in" and lend a hand.
They have supported the program
since 2007, from conception.
"If this program will help the kids cope
with their disability, then it is one hell of a program
to support," he said. "In December last year, I went to
Sea World, where I actually saw the kids swim under
water with the sharks and groper, wearing their wetsuits
and breathing regulators.
"I witnessed those kids go from being timid in the water
to being overwhelmed with joy for their experience," Ms Nicklin said, "because they never went deeper than three
metres, the diving was not physically hard for the kids."
They are also required to write blogs about their
experiences over the nine week program.
You can become a fan of Shark Bait Kids on Facebook and
see the photos from their training.