The Yasemin Dalkilic Project

yasfaceHello, I am Yasemin Dalkilic,  8-time Freediving World Champion. Diving hundreds of feet below the surface of the sea while holding my breath has been both, incredibly difficult, and amazingly rewarding. My sport has been called “The Most Extreme Sport” and I dubbed “The World’s Deepest Woman”, but instead of the accolades, what attracted me to attempt these extreme endeavors is the chance to push the limits of what’s possible just a bit further every time, to see how our bodies can adapt to conditions thought of as non survivable, and then, not only survive but thrive under that stress. For me, deep diving is as much about athletic performance as it is about scientific research, geographic exploration and soul searching, and rigorous training, meticulous preparation and unwavering faith have been the keys to overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles I have faced in the ocean’s depths.

But the battle I’m most proud to have won, is against an enemy that takes many lives and leaves countless others in despair and hopelessness. At the height of my career, I was diagnosed with papillary cystic neoplasm of the pancreas, a rare tumor that typically affects young women, and underwent emergency surgery and then treatment. Like all survivors of potentially life threatening diseases, I was lucky to be sure, but I also fought hard and, most importantly in my case, doctors were able to detect the tumor very early on because, as a well tuned athlete, I could feel right away that something was not right with my body. The fitness level I achieved through sports allowed me to sense the illness, fight it, and then to recover from it. The illness forced me out of diving, and yet, 6 years later, I’m back for one more world record attempt, because we may win some battles and loose others, but our spirit can never be defeated. This time around, I want to use the great media attention given to these events to promote the launch of the Yasemin Dalkilic Foundation. Together with a group of amazing persons that I’ve been privileged to meet and work with, we have created this foundation to channel our efforts into three distinct causes that are of the utmost importance.

First is to help in the fight against cancer. We will achieve this by raising awareness and funds to support organizations and individuals in need of help, medical, financial, spiritual and otherwise. We will also endeavor to promote the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle as a way to prevent and survive the disease. There’s a wealth of exercise, nutrition and healthy living knowledge that I have amassed during my career that we want to share with others, sure that it will make a difference form them as it did for me.

Secondly, we will help disadvantaged children have access to organized sports and physical education, so they can enjoy the benefits that come with a healthy body: a healthy mind, the capacity to fight against disease, and the focus, discipline and determination that only sports training can yield, and which will prove invaluable in their adult lives.

Finally, we will help preserve our fragile planet and its other, non-human inhabitants, for all life is precious and essential to our survival as a whole. To accomplish this, we will cooperate with and contribute to, the worldwide organizations whose work is saving countless animal and plant species from extinction and keeping our planet healthy and habitable for generations to come.

These are the goals of The Yasemin Dalkilic Foundation. We are a growing organization and we intend to make a difference, but this can only be achieved with your help and support. Visit our Projects page and see what we have done and what we’re working on. See who our Partners are and the amazing work they do every day. Then go to How can You Help? and learn the many ways in which you can help our Foundation help others.

Thanks for visiting and may you live strong, healthy and with purpose!

Yasemin Dalkilic