Advance Ventilator Dependent Diving

$2,986 of $17,424 goal

Raised by 32 people in 19 months
From 2003-2006, Matthew Johnston lead a successful campaign called 'Diving a Dream ' to become the world's first ventilator dependent scuba diver - and no one has done it again since!

This was a monumental achievement given his ongoing battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The project has reached millions of people around the world thanks to a piece featured on NBC's Today Show.


In the ten years since, Matt has spent considerable time thinking about the challenges he faced, and plans to make innovative advancements that will allow others to dive while ventilator dependent, and even simply make in-water activities more accessible for those with tracheostomies.

Funds raised through this campaign will allow Matt and his team to achieve the following:

1. Return to the History of Diving Museum
to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first ventilator dependent dives. The Museum is hosting an event on June 3rd to honor Matt's achievements. The team will also announce research underway to continue this project, as follows;

2. Design and develop a more robust vent limb circuit. Vent circuits (hoses/valves from the ventilator to the tracheostomy) today are consumable medical supplies, and not designed to withstand rigorous outdoor activity. We will prototype a robust purpose-built limb circuit that can withstand higher levels of physical activity.

3. Create a more cost effective means to keep the tracheostomy dry. The concern of drowning and infection is very real for those with a trach, and keeps many people away from in-water therapy. Matt's previous success was dependent on an expensive full body diver's drysuit which allowed passage of his vent hoses through the suit and to the trach. We will begin experiments with a dry 'shirt' that will be more readily available and affordable for others.

4. Conduct a detailed risk assessment for submerging a ventilator. Matt's dives left the vent at the surface, restricting his depth to only a few feet. There are many challenges and potential risks associated with using a ventilator under pressure. These will be carefully evalauted with the intent of publishing a technical paper on this subject. This technology and capability has other real-world applications, such as ventilator augmented breathing for ultra-deep saturation diving, and even augmented breathing assistance in dense atmospheres on other planets.

This is ambitious, will Matthew Johnston succeed?
Matt is among those unique people that has the remarkable ability to attract help when help is needed. Among his accomplishments include:

1. world's first ventiltor dependent diver, and among the first to dive with near full paralysis
2. earned first diver certification 'SDI Scubility #001' after writing a technical manual that mitigated risks of his early dives
3. awarded Beneath the Sea's prestigious 'Diver of the Year' award in 2013.
4. featured on NBC's TODAY Show
5. featured exhibit at History of Diving Museum

Matt has established an expansive network within the diving and respiratory care communities, and has the direct knowledge to open new doors in this field.

It still sounds ambitious - does he have any help?
Matt's long-time partner, Michael Lombardi, manages Ocean Opportunity Inc. , the Diving a Dream project's not-for-profit fiscal sponsor. Michael Co-Chairs the Marine Technology Society's Diving Committee. In recent years, Michael's work in diving technology and ocean exploration has earned support from the National Geographic Society and others. Michael will take on the technical management of this project to oversee design engineering, fabrication, and technical writing. Michael is a prolific technical writer in the field and has an excellent publication track record .



How can you help?
All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law, and will contribute to making the inaccessible more accessible. The field of adaptive diving technology is a niche realm and progress will only be made with a jumpstart from the community.

This research initiative will be announced at the History of Diving Museum onJune 3rd, 2017, where Matt will be visting to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his historic ocean dives.

Matt has given us all tremendous hope and inspiration for more than a decade. This is your chance to say thanks, and provide an opportunity to take a next step.
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A long overdue update - we have fabricated the first of two custom parts that are a project priority...This is a custom heavy duty vent limb circuit suitable for rigorous use.

Matt Johnston's life was threatened during his ocean dives when a connector broke. Typical ventilator connectors are consumable medical supplies. Thanks to your support, we have designed and fabricated a protoype robust vent limb circuit. In the future, those dependent on a vent will be able to participate in more rigorous activity without worrying about connectors breaking.

Your ongoing support is very much needed to continue this important work in adaptive diving and watersports. Please consider any sized donation to help us reach the next milestone!
Custom heavy duty vent limb circuit.
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As part of the outreach effort behind Matt's journey and fundraising pursuit towards improving in-water access for those with a trach and dependent on a ventilator, Matt and team have made a very important visit to the History of Diving Museum in the Florida Keys.

Together with the Museum, the team celebrated the tenth anniversary of Matt's historic dives. The Museum has a permanent display of Matt's pioneering achievements, which we were able to visit and reflect on the journey.

Together with Matt, we donated an artifact of historical importance for inclusion in the Museum display - a full gauge set from Exosuit #001 which was dived at Antikythera, Greece during its beta testing in 2014. Both efforts - Matt's successful vent dives, and the early Exosuit initiative speak exceedingly well to the effort in advancing mankind's quest to and within the sea.

Thanks for your ongoing support. Engineering efforts continue and results will follow soon!
Matt Johnston and Michael Lombardi @ HDM
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Thanks to a variety of in-kind engineering support, and a successful fundraising event at Maple Island Brewery in Stillwater, Minnesota, we have been able to reduce our target online fundraising goal. Many thanks to all of you for your ongoing support...we are well on our way to improving underwater accessibility for all.

Join us on June 3rd at the History of Diving Museum, along with Scuba Diving International, Conch Republic Divers, Matt's team, and fellow supporters for a reception celebrating the 10th anniversary of Matt's history making first ventilator dependent dives in the Florida Keys.
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Today I attended the Central New York Dive Show in Syracuse, NY and presented the Diving a Dream project to a captivated audience. After more than a decade of work on the project, we are still breathing life into accessibility of new frontiers for everyone. Please consider a small donation to carry some momentum towards our goals for this spring. We will be announcing the state of the project on June 3rd at the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Florida.
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Read a Previous Update
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$2,986 of $17,424 goal

Raised by 32 people in 19 months
Created January 16, 2017
Funds raised will benefit:
Ocean Opportunity
  Certified Charity
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Rumford, RI
EIN: 582669993
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$25
Rob Vitek
15 months ago

Awesome, way to go.. live your dreams

$25
Anonymous
17 months ago
JS
$100
Joseph Smolinski
18 months ago

Good luck Matt! We wish you all the best!!

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