Underwater Transformation About Face Underwater Transformation About Face

Casey – Spinal Cord Injury Survivor

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Thera and Casey - Professional surfers

Spinal cord injury survivor

I’m Thera, I’m 41 and I was born and raised in Vegas. Casey is 35 and grew up in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. We live in the Bay area on the peninsula, just south of SF. I’m a software engineer and Casey is a competitive adaptive surfer and homemaker 🙂

We met at work – he was in the accounting department. I thought he was sooooo cute. One day we started talking and it was just immediate fireworks. We’ve been married 5 years now, for a total of 10 years together!

For our wedding gift to each other we got season passes to a ski resort – Mt. Shasta. We wanted to build a tradition of going snowboarding together every winter. Just a few trips into that snow season Casey got stuck on a jump and fell on his back, instantly paralyzing him. It was barely 6 months after our wedding. Although he is “healed” in the sense his back is no longer broken, he sustained a T-10 spinal cord injury which is permanent. We are hopeful for scientific advances on the horizon.

I’ve always thought underwater photography was so beautiful – it has such a peaceful, ethereal quality and I wanted to capture that for us. Plus – we are surfers! We are often up in the dark AM before sunrise and planning all our vacations around oceans to surf in. Being in the water is something so important to our whole lifestyle.

I was hoping for cute fun pictures of us together celebrating our love and friendship. We’ve been through so much in a short time together! We were both very excited for the session. Working with Erena was wonderful and fun and put us at ease. It was more challenging than I thought to deal with clothing under the water! But it felt so natural to play under the water! Being underwater is washing away stress and replacing it with calm.

Casey competed in Santa Cruz Nov 10 + 11 – he WON! Unfortunately we didn’t have any details about the competition times until about a day before, and even then they ended changing the times the same day he was competing! So it was hard to keep people informed. But, he was so very excited about winning and we are so proud. His next competition is Dec 7-11 in Pismo Beach. This one is a big one!

An experience like this is so beautiful for helping to overcome the trauma of disability. We love the photos we’ve seen so far, they portray Casey as whole. So much of dealing with disability is feeling like something was stolen from us, and the way people sometimes respond to thinking of someone in a chair as “less than”. We would love to do another underwater photoshoot again!!

Working with Erena was wonderful – so easy and natural. She made us feel very comfortable and just able to be ourselves. I’d absolutely recommend doing an underwater photoshoot to anyone. It’s a beautiful experience!!

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