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Leo Morales Inspirational Amputee and Guinness World Record Holder for Scuba Diving Relies on Poseidon Gear to Reach his Goals

Leo Morales - Inspirational Amputee and Guinness World Record Holder for Scuba Diving Relies on Poseidon Gear to Reach His Goals

By Trish Keefer

1459197_769497179734309_1381077921_nEvery once in a while we are truly inspired by an individual who was "dealt a bad hand," and instead of giving up, fought back against all odds to far surpass what the average fortunate, healthy person would ever dream of achieving. For me, that inspiring person is Leo Morales who I had the pleasure of meeting at DEMA 2013. His story has certainly changed my life, and his life goal is to be able to touch many others around the world in the same way. 

Leo first showed me the video below that documents what he has been through and what he has accomplished as a result, which brought me to tears and sparked an in-depth conversation about his journey. He told me about an excruciating, chronic pain he experienced in his lower back for years, while doctors were dumbfounded and could not deliver a diagnosis. Finally, in 2008 after years of pain, Leo decided to try one last time to find out where the pain was coming from and what could be done about it. Fortunately, the x-ray technician took a picture of more than Leo's lower back...they captured his hip area as well. Through examination of the x-rays, the doctors determined that Leo had an enormous tumor that had wrapped around his hip bone. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called chondrosarcoma and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation, with no positive results. At that point the only possible treatment to stop the spread of the cancer from spreading was full amputation of his leg above the hip. Doctors only gave Leo a 20% chance to come out of the surgery alive. The surgery was successful, but Leo was given only 6 months to live.

After going through his amputation, Leo fell into a deep depression and lost his will to live...until a friend of his decided to take him to the ocean and get him in the water. "From that point forward, I realized the ocean could save me and that I could do more in the sea than on earth. I wanted to be in the water all the time." Leo had learned to dive in 1997 when he first moved to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. After his amputation he decided to resume the sport. "Being weightless in a beautiful underwater environment truly changed my life. I continued to crave more and my drive to excel and go beyond my limits was overwhelming. I just kept pushing myself, becoming a Divemaster, then PADI Instructor, and Advanced Technical Diver, all with one leg. The driving force in me was to be an inspiration to those who have lost hope, faith, and the meaning of life. To show them that even when it seems like life is over, in fact it is just the beginning of a true and authentic life. I want to send a message of inspiration and motivation to peoples' hearts that a 'handicap' is in the mind and not in the body," Leo explained.

Leo Morales Poseidon Collage

He went on to tell me about his love for Poseidon dive gear, and that he has been a Poseidon diver from the very beginning. "Poseidon gear is so well made and reliable, I always have several Poseidon regulators. I am now certified to dive on the MKVI and am looking forward to diving the new POSEIDON SE7EN as well. When I decided I wanted to take things even further with my technical diving and set my goal to change the lives of others, I reached out to Poseidon for help because there was a lot of gear I would need to achieve these goals. James Roberton from Poseidon didn't even hesitate, and made sure I had all of the gear I would need as I trained to beat the Guinness World Record of Deep Diving for people with disabilities. On December 9th, 2012, Leo was successful in setting the new world record. With the support of a team of professional divers, he went down at 400 feet (120 meters). It was a complex and dangerous dive, for which Leo used several Poseidon Xstream regulators and 6 to 7 tanks of different gas mixes. By setting this record, Leo wants to remind people with disabilities to never give up or lose hope and to encourage them to make their dreams come true.

The story of Leo's journey is inspiring and heart wrenching at the same time. Leo is truly a hero in my mind and I hope that his story spreads throughout the world. There is more in store this year for Leo as well. He will be starring in a film called "The Current," featuring Robert Redford and Jean-Michel Cousteau that truly shows the therapeutic power of the sea. The film premier will occur in mid-February in Colorado. In the image below, Leo is diving with Jean-Michel Cousteau during the making of the movie. Click Here to learn more about the film and view the trailer. 

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Leo is also working towards setting a 2nd Guinness World Record for the Longest Distance Dive. He will complete that goal by diving the longest distance along the reefs of Cozumel, starting at Punta Sur and finishing at the Paraiso Reef. This means diving the whole National Park of Cozumel in one dive at a depth of 45 feet (15m) on a distance of 11 nautical miles (21 Km). The estimated dive time is between 4 and 6 hours. He will visit the 23 reefs inside the National Park, a challenge never attempted in the history of Cozumel. He will be using advanced dive technology including a POSEIDON SE7EN Rebreather and D.P.Vs. (underwater scooters) to enable him to cover a longer distance.

CONTACT LEO MORALES: For any questions regarding this World record and its logistics please communicate directly with Leo Morales at +521/9841553535 or by email leobardo.morales@hotmail.com