Want to make a room go hear-a-pin-drop silent, by simply uttering a single word? Unfortunately, I know how to do that. Just say the dreaded “C” word. Cancer.

Not only will the room get quiet, but also people might look away — or even move away from you. The unfortunate truth is, all too often even people with the biggest hearts and the best intentions have no idea how to respond. So they withdraw. I am not casting blame here. I am simply repeating an often-shared observation.

When I think of diving, I think of fun. Not cancer. But at this stage of my life, I also find myself thinking more and more about the concept of giving back. I think a lot of us want to do what we can to “give back” to the oceans, diving and our community.

But a lot of us either don’t know how to get involved, or we just get so darn busy that we don’t make the time. For too many of us that are well intentioned, giving back is kind of an “I am going to get on that first thing Monday morning” kind of thing.

Thank goodness, it’s not that way for everyone. Meet Allison Vitsky Sallmon. Based on my personal experience, I can give you a short description of Allison by saying she is a friend, an incredibly enthusiastic diver, a very accomplished underwater photographer, excellent writer, and a driven person who is unstoppable once she makes a commitment.

Unfortunately, Allison had breast cancer as a young woman, and she had to endure many of the painful realities that cancer inflicts upon its victims. Fortunately, she is a survivor. And even more fortunately for all of us, Allison is one who is giving back. She is partnering with Janet Pinterits, a sister survivor, to build an organization called Dive into the Pink. When these two women say the “C” word, they’re talking education and advocacy and strength. And hope for the future.

You can learn about Dive into the Pink by reading Allison’s account of her journey from cancer patient to survivor to advocate. I won’t steal her thunder, but I will say the organization uses scuba diving to foster support for breast cancer education and research, and more.

Kudos to Alison and Janet! We are very glad you are survivors, and that your passion for diving is fueling this endeavor.

I can’t say pink is my favorite color, but I’d proudly be a Pepto-Bismol™-colored diver in support of your efforts.

Go Dive into the Pink, go!