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Float For Life event on Beach set for Sunday

By Staff | Jul 10, 2015

A fun and meaningful event during the morning of July 12 will benefit a Sanibel nonprofit.

The second annual Float For Life at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina in Fort Myers Beach promotes the environmental, economic, psychological and physical benefits of keeping Gulf and inland waters clean.

Service organizations, local businesses and community members this year will unite in an attempt to create a record for the largest Ocean Float. The primary goal is to allow participants to feel intimately connected to the water, the environment, and ultimately, themselves. Ultimately, the event is to inspire a call to action to protect oceans and waterways.

Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famous explorer and filmmaker and a water rights advocate, will be guest speaker at the event. Proceeds will benefit the Sanibel Sea School.

The founders for the nonprofit Float For Life, Dr. Shelley Lynch and Roy Desjarlais, shared thoughts on the Float For Life event.

Question: How did Float For Life evolve?

FFL: Float for Life came about from our years of experience treating patients in the water and our love for the ocean. We moved to a home on a canal in Martin county that leads to the St. Lucie River (and ultimately to the intracoastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean). We witnessed first hand the devastation caused by the Lake Okeechobee discharges into our estuaries. From our boat, we observed significant marine-life casualties directly linked to the pollution from the lake and properties along the water management canals. Then it became clear that it wasn’t an east coast issue and that the water was discharged into the Caloosahatchee River out to the Gulf with the same devastating effects. It was so disturbing, Shelley and I decided we needed to “do something.”

Question: What are you hoping to accomplish July 12?

FFL: We decided to create a positive experience event that would inspire a call to action. Our tag line is: Inspiring the Human-Ocean Bond. Our vision is to connect (or reconnect) people intimately to the joys and importance of clean ocean water. Simply stated: If you connect intimately with the water, you care and want to become a steward for clean water. Real change happens when we take personal steps to keep our waters clean (litter removal, less phosphates used, etc.). Plus, the really significant changes happen at the political level and we’re hoping the public awareness that grows through FFL events will inspire people to vote for our representatives based on their environmental platform as much as any other items.

Question: There’s a lot research about the health benefits of floating. What happens when we float?

FFL: I could go on for pages on this one. However, floating in general is calming physically, neurologically, mentally and emotionally. When you float with assistance (the large group will divide into groups of three – one floating while the other two support you), you can let go of your body even more completely. There is a freedom that is experienced that is unique in our gravity. When you float by yourself, part of you has to track where you are, where you are drifting to, dealing with waves, etc. When you experience assisted floating, you have to do nothing but relax and let your body go. There really isn’t anything like it you can experience except maybe zero-gravity–and that’s not readily available to most of us. Yet.

Additionally, the water pressure and overall light pressure on the body is neurologically calming. The study of Sensory Processing disorders has shown us that pressure to the body calms the autonomic nervous system (the automatic branch of the central nervous system). This is why so many people on the autistic spectrum LOVE being in the water.

It feels good without electronic stimulation. It’s natural. It’s available with little, to no cost. You really don’t multi-task when you float, you just let down and feel better. Our website has a blog that we share more on this topic if you’re interested: oceanfloatforlife.com/tension-versus-tone/ or: oceanfloatforlife.com/how-ocean-floats-help-therapeutically-calm-your-nervous-system-2-2/.

Question: Alexandra Cousteau is the granddaughter of the famous explorer/filmmaker. How did she become involved in your campaign?

FFL: Shelley sent Alexandra our video: http://youtu.be/6ppVRELTAIM hoping that she’d be interested. She really liked our message and responded immediately (from her home in Berlin, Germany). After a quick email exchange and phone call, she agreed to come and be our guest speaker. Her foundation is very much in-line with our vision of educating and inspiring people to care for the oceans. Her website is: www.bluelegacy.net/ and www.alexandracousteau.com

Question: Sanibel Sea School is a beneficiary of your work. Why?

FFL: We wanted to benefit a local, community non-profit organization that was also like-minded. Dr. Bruce and the Sanibel Sea School are kindred spirits helping to connect children to the wonders and possibilities of the ocean. They’ve been floating children for years now (along with all their other programs). They were excited about our event when we approached them early this year and agreed to work with us. They are helping to promote the second annual FFL event as well as collect the donations and sponsor money (tax deductible). It’s a great fit for our organization!