At last year’s annual Belgravia Foundation Inspiration Breakfast, the CEO and Founder of The Belgravia Group, Geoff Lord, was so inspired by the life-changing impacts Determined2 offered people undergoing Immersion Therapy that he made an ‘on-the-spot’ personal donation of $10,000.
This donation was to help Determined2 provide Immersion Therapy to people who were missing out through not being able to afford the service, or access government funding. The team are now extending the transformative power of the program to young individuals navigating the complexities of a cancer diagnosis.
The donation from Geoff with the support of the Belgravia Foundation has been a beacon of hope for those who often face unique physical, psychological and social hurdles during their journey living with cancer.
Peter Wilson, the Managing Director of Determined2 and the driving force behind Immersion Therapy, connected with the Youth Cancer Service to ensure that the young cancer patients could experience the profound benefits of this therapeutic intervention. These young people ‘fell between the gaps’ of funding supports and were in danger of missing out on this important opportunity.
The South Australian Youth Cancer Service, dedicated to providing comprehensive care to young people aged 15-25 facing cancer, is now able to offer a rejuvenating avenue for rehabilitation and connection through Immersion Therapy.
Young people undergoing cancer treatment can be impacted by a range of physical, psychological and social experiences, some left with life-long health complications or disabilities. The opportunity for young people with cancer to access Immersion Therapy provides a positive rehabilitative avenue and may enable opportunities to connect with other young cancer patients and improve psychological well-being.
Members of the Youth Cancer Service Youth Advisory Group, Harry and Tara recently shared their uplifting experiences after participating in an Immersion Therapy session at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. Harry highlighted the inclusive nature of the program and its potential to benefit a diverse range of individuals with various abilities.
Harry said, “As a member of the Youth Cancer Service Advisory Group Committee in South Australia, we meet regularly with other health professionals and young people who are or have been previously affected with cancer to discuss the needs and challenges experienced by young people with cancer.
“Immersion Therapy allows people with disability or illness to experience freedom of movement in a weightless underwater environment using scuba equipment. It’s not just scuba diving, but a therapeutic intervention that is tailored to the individual needs and goals of each participant. As someone who also works in healthcare and after engaging in Immersion Therapy, I can certainly see the biopsychosocial benefits such as helping improve mobility, muscle conditioning and range of movement for those who experience reduced capacity.
“There is also a psychosocial benefit that should be acknowledged and may benefit those dealing with PTSD, anxiety and depression. I could certainly feel a greater sense of wellbeing and can understand how others may feel the same with regular engagement. I look forward to doing another session in the future.” Harry said.
Tara, a former swimmer diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2022, also expressed the profound impact of Immersion Therapy on her physical and mental well-being. She described the experience as not just freeing but a momentary escape from the overwhelming challenges posed by cancer.
Tara explained how at first, she was extremely nervous to get into a pool for the first time in almost two years. “I wasn’t sure how my body would work. I was completely reassured the moment I met Pete out the front, and he was instantly transparent about his experience recovering from an injury.
“The first moment entering the water felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders and putting the equipment on gave me a sense of control I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Once we entered the water, I realised how much of a different world it is, nothing mattered. A whole hour went by and not a single thought about cancer, the one thing that had been consuming every day of my last year and a half, even dared to cross my mind.
“I came out of the experience aware of how much I have grown and how capable I am, even after enduring chemotherapy at 18 years old. I wish everyone with ability impairments could experience Immersion Therapy,” Tara said.
Harry and Tara’s experiences are a testament to the therapeutic potential of Immersion Therapy, offering not only physical relief but also a respite from the mental burdens that accompany a cancer journey.
It is our sincere hope that many more will benefit from the healing waters of Immersion Therapy in the future and look forward to witnessing the transformative impact of Immersion Therapy on the lives of young individuals facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis.
The annual Belgravia Foundation Inspiration Breakfast, held on Thursday the 8th of February 2024, aims to celebrate and communicate the contribution of leisure, aquatics, fitness and sport to connecting people in need to improved health and happiness. To get involved and attend this year’s breakfast, you can get your tickets here.
For those wanting to express their interest visit Immersion Therapy partnersinhealth.com.au.