Underwater Healer About Face Underwater Healer About Face
2017_survivorsMAP

Underwater Healer About Face in Florida!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
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I'll be in Florida from 2/10-2/15! Arriving at night on the 10th and leaving early in the morning of the 15th. Super short trip but I want to make the best out of this trip! I'm excited! Originally, I was not going to work BUT that never happened for me :) I just LOVE working with cancer survivors, sharing stories and making beautiful memories together. Les is 52 years old and was born and raised in Maryland. He lives in Florida for the last 30 years. He is a 2 time cancer survivor (skin and lung cancer) He used to go scalloping every season. He says, "One reason I want to do this, if I can be truthful, is because I'm kind of worried about getting back underwater since I have only 1 1/2 lungs and no idea how long I can hold my breath anymore. The second reason is because I haven't done anything just for me since cancer took my life and I don't have any pictures of myself! I also want to make my daughters proud :)" Amber grew up in Hot Springs Arkansas and spent time in Ketchikan Alaska as a teenager. Then she lived in Alabama for 14 years until she moved to Florida. She was diagnosed with PTSD and Colorectal Cancer. She has also been left with a colostomy bag and that is a constant pull at her feelings of beauty and causes much doubt and sadness. She says, "I hope to have the opportunity to...
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Behind the scene with Pauline and JoAnn

Underwater Healer About Face
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The last 2 cancer survivors of the 2016 are Pauline and JoAnn from the Bay Area. Pauline is a thyroid cancer survivor and now she volunteers for American Cancer Society's Look Good Feel Better program as a make up artist. JoAnn is a breast cancer survivor and currently going through a radiation.  Pauline helped JoAnn for the make up and told her about the free program, Look Good Feel Better so she can have an awesome make up kit ($400 value, all donated by cosmetic companies) for FREE! JoAnn did an amazing job underwater! She said, "My body was so relaxed that night and I slept like a baby! I usually wake up having a body ache and discomfort on my breast and arm but I slept through the night :)" Please see her beautiful underwater transformation and read her story here. JoAnn's cousin, Drina did an underwater maternity photo shoot with me a month ago! Drina is a huge supporter of the underwater healer about face project and she wanted to sponsor her cousin JoAnn for the photo shoot. Pauline was a bit nervous in the beginning but she got hang of it right away! She said, "I had one of the most restful nights sleep and I couldn’t believe that I don’t think I woke up once, my normal nights sleep, I wake at least twice and then sometimes my mind starts trailing and I cause myself angst. I so enjoyed my last nights sleep." Please see her beautiful underwater transformation and...
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Fem Worldview Magazine

Underwater Healer About Face
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Thank you so much for featuring my work. I'm honored to be a part of this beautiful magazine, Fem Worldview to inspire other women in the world. "From the Editor:  It is with great honor that Erena Shimoda agreed to allow Fem Worldview Magazine to present her extraordinary underwater healing project for cancer survivors.  I am a swimmer.  I love the water.  I am never happier than when I am floating in a pool, or diving underwater, free from stress and petty annoyances.  Sometimes I close my eyes and think I’m still in Bora Bora.   Sometimes I close my eyes and dream I’m a child.  Everything is possible in the water.  Until you immerse yourself in the water, you aren’t yet free.   Come with me and take a journey with people who have survived the worst fear – cancer.  Applaud them and praise them as we allow Erena Shimoda’s gift of photography to grace us in her underwater world." About Fem Worldview Fem Worldview Magazine is a publication showcasing extraordinary women from around the world.  Fem Worldview is a global journey brought to our readers through exquisite imagery and powerful journalism with no-holds barred presentation.  Fem Worldview is a publication that is embodied with integrity, consciousness, research, education and...
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UCSF event was successful!

Underwater Healer About Face
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It was a successful day at UCSF cancer event, Taste for the Cure: A Taste of Science Each year, UCSF puts on an annual Taste for the Cure event at the Jewish Community Center. Aimed at patients, their families, and the community, the event shares resources and research on breast cancer as well as tips and food samples for eating healthy during and after cancer. I met beautiful survivors, fighters and supporters who are interested in working with me. I hope to hear exciting news coming soon! Wish me luck! I also purchased a book from BAYS! One of the cancer survivors, Sara is one of the writers. I was folding origami cranes at the event. So many people loved them and took them home. 1000 cranes are the symbol of our project, Undewater Healer About Face. Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴 Senbazuru) is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (折鶴 orizuru) held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the Gods. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. I was folding origami cranes to wish every cancer fighters and survivors get better and stay strong forever. #1000cranes #1000wishes...

Meet Sara, a breast cancer survivor

Underwater Healer About Face
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I had an amazing day working with an adorable couple who wanted to celebrate their 10 anniversary under water and after that, I got to work with a beautiful breast cancer survivor, Sara. She was born and grew up in the south bay, and have been living in San Francisco most of her adult life, other than going to Berkeley for undergrad and UCLA for law school.She was iagnosed breast cancer in December 2015, when she was 38. After the photo shoot, she said, "I totally would recommend underwater portrait to other survivors! For survivors, I think it's an experience that can help you feel strong and confident again, especially because Erena was so warm and encouraging. It is a nice escape from thinking about cancer. It also is a moment where you can feel like you're in control and you're guiding the concept and deciding what to do, instead of being told what's happening to you and your body by doctors. It's a fun "appointment," instead of all the mandatory doctor appointments that poke and prod you. I think it also would be a great experience for anyone, not just survivors. It is such a unique, artistic experience and different way of seeing yourself." Thank you so much, Sara for being a part of this beautiful project to inspire other survivors and everyone in the world. Her underwater transformative images are stunning! I can't wait to show them to you...
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My Survival Story

Underwater Healer About Face
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My Survival Story I was so happy to meet Martin and Katarina from Switzerland last week! They are traveling the world to capture cancer survival stories for their project, My Survival Story. They contacted me several months ago through Skype. They wanted me to be a part of their project to inspire other survivors. One of the survivors, Tina said, "Survivors need survivors to survive." I was excited to share my story, beautiful images of survivors and how underwater portrait photography heals survivors' emotional scars. I loved hanging out with them. It's been awhile... to be interviewed... since the NBC show! We met a breast cancer survivor, Betsy from San Jose, CA. She is a NP at Stanford hospital. This is also my 3rd breast cancer survivor with a nurse background. May be their work schedule and stress caused cancer...  Martin and Katarina interviewed her before the photo shoot. Betsy told me she doesn't usually wear make up. She is beautiful with or without it :) She did amazing work under water!! After underwater photo shoot with Betsy, I asked her how she felt underwater... Pictures are coming soon!! Then I took a photo of Martin and Katarina! Photos are coming soon! They were fascinated by how dreamy the photos look :) Before they came to San Francisco, they were in San Diego to meet Scott and Mandy! I met them in March for my Underwater Healer project. Scott is a 2 time testicular cancer survivors and he froze his perm when he was 21 yrs old. His...
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Underwater Healer on NBC Bay Area

Underwater Healer About Face, uw portrait
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Last week brain cancer survivor Maya and I were interviewed live by Robert Handa of NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) to discuss my Underwater Healer project and her transformation. It aired this past Sunday morning on Asian Pacific America and is finally online to share with you! The interview was incredibly fun and also full of surprises. When I arrived at the studio I discovered it was not a taping, but live! I was a little nervous, knowing there would be no editing if I stumbled my words, but this situation is exactly what I’ve been working towards in my public speaking practice. It was hard, but it turned out great in the end. In addition to the studio interview, NBC followed me to Maya’s underwater shoot to capture  behind-the-scenes of an underwater portrait shoot. I’m so happy I was able to share the entirety of an Underwater Healer project, from start to finish, with others. Maya was a complete pro as well - from her underwater portrait shoot to the interview on Asian Pacific America.  Thank you Maya for sharing your story and transformation with us all! I’m very thankful to Robert and NBC Bay Area for giving me the opportunity to share my Underwater Healer project with their viewers. Be sure to watch the interview below and share with your...

Inspiring Young Minds

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As you may remember, one of my resolutions for 2016, is to increase my speaking engagement frequency - and yes, still aiming for that TED Talk! I’m so excited to tell you that am speaking at not one, but two, college photography classes this month! First, I’ll be speaking at City College San Francisco in mid-April, and shortly thereafter at City College San Jose. I’m excited to share my passion with young, budding photographers. My work, and my Underwater Healer project, has evolved so much over the years. I’ve learned and grown so much. I’m excited to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned and hopefully inspire THEM to tell their own empowering stories. Hopefully this is a great opportunity for me and the students alike and that they will also find an interest in my project sharing survivor stories. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find myself leading them in a workshop because they discovered an interest in underwater photography! The possibilities are endless. I’m also happy to try out some of my new-found presentation skills and tips I learned at a public speaking workshop I attended earlier this year! I am taking my resolution very seriously and am proud at myself for accomplishing what I have so far this year. I have a few more surprises in the works that will bring me even closer to my goal. Stay tuned, only good things are...

San Diego Update: Cancer Survivor + Maternity Shoot!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
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As you read last week, I am headed to San Diego March 12 - 14 for two transformational underwater shoots. I’m excited to announce a third portrait session has been scheduled, a first for me - a lovely couple who is expecting their first child and the father-to-be is a two-time Testicular Cancer survivor! Scott and Mandy are thrilled for their upcoming photo session.  Scott, who beat Stage 4 Testicular Cancer in 1999 and Stage 2 in 2004, and Mandy, who is expecting May 15th, have many reasons to celebrate and participate in my Underwater Healer project.  They were told they had less than 1% chance to conceive.  But thanks to hope, good energy, doctors and the modern practice of IVF, Mandy is now pregnant!  A very expensive undertaking, a GoFundMe page was created and successful helped fund the expensive procedure. Mandy and Scott have expressed how excited they are for their upcoming photo shoot and what they are looking forward to the most.  Scott says: “One way I can explain the feeling of cancer was the feeling of being trapped, secluded, and confined.  I was in the hospital for weeks at a time and sometimes so confined that I couldn't get out of bed.  Only immediate family members could come in the room after they were gowned up and cleaned; much like quarantine.  The freedom, calm, and limitless possibility of movement being underwater brings me happiness and takes me so far away from the confines of cancer and those dark memories.” They both...

Looking to 2016

Underwater Healer About Face
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It’s unbelievable to think that 2016 is less than 10 days away!  Last week I looked back at 2015 and some of my most dear moments.  This week, I want to look forward to 2016 and what I aim to accomplish. I’m setting a personal goal to speak more in 2016.  Two of my three most favorite 2015 moments were speaking engagements and I want to continue to grow myself as a public speaker.  Not only do I want to reach people at the far corners of the world - inspire them with stories of courage, strength and beauty - but I also want to challenge myself.  I want to grow as an orator.  I have met with a speaking coach and am excited to push myself to overcome any nerves and polish my presentation style.  I love talking to groups and want to speak to even larger audiences.  Whether it be an Apple Store presentation, speaking at a university or organization, I am enthusiastic to see what keynote opportunities arise and seek them out even more in 2016. My biggest goal that I am working towards is to present a TED talk.  It’s not an easy feat, only 50 speakers are chosen each year at the conference, but I believe in myself.  I know that with practice and preparation I can share my story of Underwater Healer and the transformation of the survivors to a global audience.  I’m optimistic that in 2016 I will present a local TEDx talk, a...