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 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,

Gage Salyards

You can see all of my work, portfolio and more information about my photography using the following link:

P.S. All prints are printed, stretched and handcrafted to perfection by me personally. It is an important process to me to not only create the images but create their physical, tangible form as well. All rewards will be fulfilled after my trip to New Zealand in the timeliest manner possible.
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Gage Salyards 
Duluth, MN
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