Underwater Healer – The Beginnings
For over two years I’ve had the pleasure of working with many amazing cancer survivors as part of my Underwater Healer – About Face campaign. Starting initially with 13 survivors, I raised funds on IndieGoGo to cover the cost of the portrait sessions for the survivors and to this day, all photography sessions are covered at no expense to them. The rest of the campaign money was donated to IHadCancer.com, an online community where survivors, family members and supporters share their stories and connect together. It’s been a profound joy to help cancer survivors celebrate regaining their health and life through underwater portrait shoots.
What many may not know, is why I began Underwater Healer. It’s because I too had undergone healing.
Years ago, I survived a traumatic car accident, in which I was severely injured and lost my father. The pain was immeasurable. As part of my own healing process, I volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better Program. This program teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Through this program, cancer patients improve their self esteem and gain support, confidence and courage through the beauty sessions and the LGFB community.
Watching them marvel at their transformations touched me deeply. I wanted to lend my own talents to helping cancer patients and survivors see themselves as beautiful. I always have had an affinity for the underwater world and from this I had become a certified scuba Divemaster. I loved taking underwater photos and had been an underwater photographer since 2008. With that I found my calling – to help cancer survivors through underwater photography sessions.
And so Underwater Healer was born. The project has given cancer patients confidence and courage to face new challenges. They feel free and let go of past hurt and pain. The sessions prove to be unofficial therapy sessions and in the end they have something tangible to tie to their new found self-esteem and improved self-image. The portraits themselves are symbolic: water gives the planet life. Water gives participating survivors a moment of affirmation, freedom and a fresh beginnings to their cancer-free life.
I’m grateful to work with survivors and help heal their painful memories. I’m grateful for all my friends and family who have supported Underwater Healer since it’s inception. I’m grateful for my own healing. And last but not least, I’m grateful for the continuing opportunity to help people from all over the world heal their mind and spirit.