MAGALOG21 (2021)




I am Paul Zanelli, a volunteer fireman and EMT for more than 35 years, a husband, father and now an amputee. I spent 33 days confined to a hospital bed after crushing my right foot during a home project. When I opened my eyes the morning of December 23, 2016, minus a leg, I looked up at the hospital roomTV to see a one-legged superstar running a Spartan race. It was like God was trying to show me a new world of possibilities. Christmas was spent in the hospital with my family and friends. So many people came to visit, and as much joy as that brought to me, it was hard seeing the pain and sorrow in their eyes. I wasn’t in pain! I was going to be OK! I did not need them to feel sorry for me. I became determined to stay strong and lead a normal life. I came home from the hospital on Dec. 27 with equal measures of hope and fear.One of the first people to reach out to me was Margo Peyton, owner of Kids Sea Camp, and

the call she made to me was the start of a new and wonderful, new relationship with her, my family and diving. I met Margo and her husband,Tom Peyton ,the year before at Kids Sea Camp (KSC) in Roatan, Honduras. It had been a dream come true for us. Cindy and I were avid divers for more than a decade, but after having children, dive trips were replaced with Disney and water parks. We stumbled upon KSC when the kids turned 10 and wanted to dive too. In Roatan, we dove and made friends with other adults, while the kids were getting certified and making friends of their own. It felt great for all of us to finally be diving together. We planned on diving, it is a big part of our life, and had booked another KSC trip for spring break 2017 in Dominica at the FortYoung Hotel and Buddy Dive Dominica. While lying in the hospital bed in Decem- ber, the doctors told me there was no way that I would be diving inApril. It was only four months away, so I sadly told my wife

to cancel our family vacation, and in perfect Cindy form, she said NO! Keeping that trip scheduled was one of the best decisions ever. My family needed this trip, and so did I. I wanted to show my kids (and myself) that life would be as good or better than before.And what made it all come together was this unexpected call from Margo. She had been following my story on Facebook, with lots of love and prayers throughout. Margo called to tell me she had made all the arrangements for me with a handicap room, an HSA instructor, some big strong dive guides to help me in and out of the wa- ter and anything else I could possibly need to make this work. She even arranged the land excursions that ensured no far walks for me or a path where I could be driven to the top of the fort or waterfalls. To top it all off, she even purchased me a sub-gravity underwater scooter through her not-for-profit foundation, The scooter was small, compact and easy 803-419-2556 email:

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