Gemma Smith – Through Endurance We Conquer
Gemma Smith is one of the best known divers in the UK, and further afield. A leading technical diver and explorer, she worked on several groundbreaking projects, including the Antikythera Project in the Mediterranean with divers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her career, when still comfortably in her twenties, was already something others aspired to. She was a PADI Ambassadiver, and one of the faces of their campaign to promote women in diving; she was working for several dive brands as a test diver or spokesperson. But then disaster struck. During a trip to the Faroe Islands, Gemma was hit by a car whilst walking along the road and the next thing she knew, she was in hospital suffering from multiple injuries, several of which not only threatened her chances of diving again, but also walking. Indeed, for a while her life was in the balance. This is where the diving community stepped up to help one of its own in a way that, mirrored by more recent events in Thailand, shows how diving truly brings people together. A JustGiving page was set up to raise money to help Gemma, and fourth element designed a t-shirt, the profits from which went to Gemma for whatever she needed.
Thank you to everyone who ordered a t-shirt – the money we raised is being used by Gemma to put towards her fees to pursue a degree in Archaeology at Leicester University.
“Obviously a degree is a massive financial commitment, but with the generosity and love and support from everyone around the world I am able to start again with huge forward momentum. People have actually said to me how unlucky I am to have been hit by that car. Yes, but I am also incredibly lucky in so many ways. I’m still here, I’m walking, and I have been privileged enough to see first hand how incredible people are, and how this dive community we work in is so much more that that: It’s a dive family, and I will never forget how lucky I am to be a part of it.”
Thankfully, after many major surgeries and no shortage of good fortune, the outlook is good for Gemma – she is already back on her feet (albeit with a long road for recovery ahead) and even contemplating the time when she can get back in the water. Keep inspiring us, Gemma!
Patricia Viale Wuest