'One bad day' gives rise to many good ones at sea

By Alan Gibson

Lying in hospital on what he calls his "one bad day", Bryce Dinneen made a promise to himself to focus on the positives and prove to others that life goes on.

While enjoying a day out on the Wellington waterfront in 2007, Dinneen dived into shallow water and broke several vertebrae, irreparably damaging his spinal cord.

He spent months recovering in Christchurch's Burwood Spinal Unit and months more rehabilitating.

The keen fisherman, now 38, is still confined to a wheelchair but has set up a charity to help disabled people to continue enjoying saltwater activities.

That charity is Wish 4 Fish and, with the help of boat charter operators, it takes people with varying disabilities out to sea for fishing and boating.

"I thought things were pretty tough but I made a promise to myself that the one thing I can control is my attitude," he said.

"I just wanted to be positive about things and prove to people that life goes on."

The charity has been operating out of Tauranga and Coromandel but now, due to popular demand, it's bringing its services north to benefit Aucklanders.

Dinneen has been running the trips with the co-operation of enthusiastic boat operators in both ports who have made minor additions to their craft so wheelchairs can be attached.

Dinneen said the benefits of the programme were endless, both for disabled clients and their families.

"It's pretty emotional at times and pretty special really to give people the opportunity to feel the sun on their face and the wind in their hair and give them the chance to spend time with family and friends and get out on the water.

"For those three or four hours they forget about the problems they are dealing with and have some quality time together."

Wish 4 Fish will be holding a gala fundraising dinner at Alexandra Park on July 22.

"We will be bringing people together from the marine industry, the general public and the disability sector to raise some funds, tell them about the cause and launch the supporters club."

- NZ Herald

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