New Zealand: A Healing Journey
Hello, my name is Gage Salyards. I am 32 years old. I am a travel, fine-art and landscape photographer and print-maker. This is a funding site. Let me tell you why your support will have a lasting and significant impact on my life and my career going forward.
A year and a half ago, I took a leap and decided to pursue my dream of being a photographer, full time. I am always looking for ways to learn from master photographers and artists who inspire me to do what I do and to follow my dreams. I have been given the rare opportunity to do just that. One of the most famous and renowned travel photographers on the planet, Trey Ratcliff, has recently moved to New Zealand and decided to put together a very intimate and personal workshop for a few select photographers to spend an entire week traveling around New Zealand and working directly alongside him. Although I haven't met Trey, his influence on my work has been profound. I believe him to be one of the most inspiring, forward thinking photographers and people of our time. It is an absolute dream of mine to meet him and work with him and I have the opportunity to realize this dream right now.
A little over two months ago, I noticed a lump at the base of my neck. After a series of tests, scans and procedures, I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer. On January 9th I will have surgery to remove my thyroid and all affected lymph glands in my neck. I am 32. I never in my wildest dreams thought cancer of any kind would be a part of my reality at this stage in my life.
While shock, confusion, anger, depression and embarrassment are just a few of the emotions I am moving through I am not willing to let this disease take me under. I am choosing to see this experience as a gift. I have been given the opportunity to assess every aspect of my life, to see with clear eyes what is important and to drop everything that is not. This experience has inspired me to spend the rest of my life following that which brings joy, happiness and light into my life and those around me.
I had been saving for this photography workshop for quite some time. My experience with cancer arose suddenly, and all of my resources have been invested in regaining my health, a positive outlook and committing to a positive and swift recovery. The workshop begins on Feb 6th. My time to gather the funds needed as well as recover from my surgery is short, but far from impossible. My surgeon has said he sees no significant reason why I cannot make the trip to New Zealand and has given me his blessing to continue forward.
How you can help support in my healing and helping this dream of mine become a reality
I ask for your support in making this dream a reality. My goal is to raise at least $8-$10,000 within the next 30 days to cover the workshop, airfare and travel expenses required for the trip to New Zealand.
I ask for your support in one of two ways:
1. You can simply make a donation of any amount you choose, and know you have my unending gratitude for your contribution. Even $50 will make a huge difference.
2. You can select one of the following contribution awards listed and receive a limited edition personally handmade print of your choice from either my portfolio on my website www.eyeamgage.com or the incredible images I will come back from New Zealand with.
I am inspired to enjoy this life I have but also be a friend, a contributor to mankind. My long terms goals are many, but the critical professional and personal development is needed to reach them. It has long been my dream and goal to seek out this experience, in part, through working with master photographers and artists who inspire me. This New Zealand opportunity provides exactly that experience and development I seek.
This cancer situation is but a small bump in the road for me, yet it will have a lasting effect from here on out, in the most positive and loving way. I am here on this earth to make a positive difference in this world we live in, and make a contribution through the images I capture and create. In our darkest moments we must seek out the beauty that is all around us, the examples of "heaven on earth" that exist from the farthest reaches of the earth to the places we drive past every day. I am inspired to illuminate, focus on and capture these images of universal perfection for the world to see and experience.
I am fully committed to making this dream a reality, and I am incredibly grateful for your participation and contributions.
Thank you with all my heart,
I know you all are anxiously awaiting not only to see the images I've been finishing from my trip to New Zealand but also to hear how this process will work regarding choosing images and receiving your prints. My progress has been slower than I had hoped for and my recovery and treatment since returning from my trip has been more difficult than I ever imagined. Unfortunately I just found out today that I will indeed need a second surgery to finish cleaning out the cancer and disease from my neck...we are unsure if this is something that was simply missed the first time around or something that has popped up since...but it needs to be taken care of, and the sooner the better. Although it is quite sudden news, I will be going into surgery tomorrow(Thurs May 30th) and will be in the hospital for at least a night or two following the procedure.
This will inevitably push my recovery and working on my images and prints back slightly, but please rest assured knowing that I am working very hard and I can't thank you all enough for your continued patience and support during this challenging time.
I will be in contact as soon as I am back home from the hospital, and I will explain the next steps in this process going forward.
Again thank you all for your support, I am incredibly grateful you all have chosen to be apart of this journey with me.
Best wishes for recovery. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common cancer and the treatment is not hard on the body as it used to be. The recovery is quick. I survived anaplastic thyroid cancer which is deadly and low survival rate. Good luck and God Bless!