If ever you needed to hear a story of hope, it’s that of Cliff Devries. Every year for his birthday, Cliff climbs the pool ladder step-by-step, walks the length of the diving board, and drops into the pool. The miraculous thing about this? Cliff is paralyzed.
To truly appreciate his story, we must go back to the beginning. Before he became paralyzed, Cliff was a two-time All-American diver that showed incredible promise. Diving was his passion and it was hard for Cliff to imagine doing anything else.
However, Cliff’s life took a turn when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor over 20 years ago. In order to save his life, he had to undergo an operation to remove the tumor from the base of his brain. The surgery gave him back his life, but Cliff was paralyzed on his right side.
Cliff’s determination and will to continue being part of the diving community influenced his decision to still instruct students at the Upstate New York Diving which he founded in 2006. However, it was no secret that he very much wanted to be in the water.
That’s when Cliff decided that each year on his birthday, he would take the plunge into the water. You’ll notice that just behind Cliff is a young man who happens to be his son, Corey. Corey always walks just behind his father to make sure everything goes okay. Unfortunately, in years past, Cliff has stumbled and almost fallen. Corey is there to make sure his father is safe.
Each year, onlookers watch as Cliff makes his way into the water. It’s something that completely captivates and pulls at the heartstrings. His commitment to doing something that he loves despite his physical condition is nothing short of admirable.
It’s no secret that so many people are touched by Cliff’s commitment to diving. His wife says,
“I’m just happy for him. I’m proud of him. The joy and excitement just radiates from him”
This year, Cliff was determined to do something he had never attempted since becoming paralyzed: a back dive. As his wife and students watch below, Cliff makes his way to the end of the board. And just like that, he does what everybody assumed he would never do again.
Cliff explains his love for diving,
“364 days out of the year I’m a fish out of water and so now for one day I get to be in my natural habitat.”
Stories like Cliff remind of us of own abilities. While we may think we can’t accomplish something, so much of it is in our state of mind. Cliff put his mind to doing something that so many assumed he would never do again.
We are so fortunate that this amazing moment was captured. Perhaps it will encourage someone else to attempt the impossible.
Watch the video below.
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Source: Little Things