Help Koa Heal

As a friend of Koa's, you may or may not know that she suffered a severe and traumatic concussion from assault earlier this year. As a result, she was not able to keep up with the demands of her previous job as a traveling photojournalist. 

Because of her being let go from this job, she had to forfeit her camera and lenses, now leaving her without the necessary equipment to enter into the next phase of her work.
Additionally she is needing to continue the very real healing process of recovering from this TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Your support will help her invest in new equipment, enable her to step into long-term healing, and shift into a new chapter of her life. Let’s help her recover!

Read her story:

“On January 11th of this year, in a rural village in Guatemala, I was walking with my love - two lovers walking in the night - walking home to where we were to sleep. In a dark corner of the road they came upon us: two men with masks. Small in stature, quick as lightning, voices shrill and uninterpretable, they ambushed us. Pointing guns in our faces, shouting and shoving us, we crouched to the ground, hands up, bodies down on the dirt road. One man was behind us while the other was in front. They took our belongings, and with one final mark, the man from behind us hit me with his gun: with full force, he smashed the butt of his gun to the back of my skull. Since I couldn’t see him, like stars bursting from the blackness of night, the blow and the pain came from nowhere. The men ran off; we were left sitting, shaking, crying in the middle of the street in the middle of the night. A few moments passed until we realized it wasn't safe for us to stay there, so we ran back, to our room for the night, and prepared for a long journey of healing to come. 

Most likely because of the high adrenaline, I didn’t black out, but quickly grew a golf ball sized swelling on the back of my head, at the Asterion point behind my left ear. (As I write this now, over six months later it still aches today, like hot swollen mush on the inside of the left part of my head.) 

Luckily, our lives weren’t taken. But the effects of this TBI (traumatic brain injury) and Post-Concussion Syndrome have affected all aspects of my life; I have large blanks and black holes in my memory, I fail at simple math and number recognition, I am unable to multitask and forget what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I am experiencing severe mood imbalances and highly easily triggered PTSD. Most recently it has affected my job - where for the past two years I've been working as a traveling photojournalist, interviewer, writer, and portrait photographer for children with rare diseases. Though I was still able to produce high quality work after the accident given my compromised conditions, one month ago I was let go from my job abruptly, without any preparation or warning.

I had to return $4,000 worth of camera gear to the company, and now I am hoping to acquire my own to keep my independent photography business going (which is now in its 10th year). To heal my body, mind and spirit I have found a program starting in September, where for three months I will be committing to and fully immersed in a full-time deep somatic healing arts training geared towards resolving trauma. I have been accepted via work-trade scholarship and will be able to pay for my tuition in exchange for the photography and film work I do with this new camera equipment, and with your help.

I also will need funds to take the journey into this healing phase for the relocation to the program which is Out of State; and for medical osteopathic costs. Thank you for considering a contribution, as I aspire to meet this opportunity to fully heal, to take my craniosacral bodywork practice to the next level by personally understanding the effects of traumatic brain injuries, and to regain my independence as a photographer dedicated to telling stories of beauty and resilience.

I am grateful to be alive, still in love with the people of Guatemala, and am looking forward to bringing greater gifts to my community through this process.”

Thank you for your generosity. It means a lot and every bit goes a long way.
To see Koa's beautiful work, visit her website: 


Donations (0)

  • Connie Strohbehn  
    • $25 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 3 d
  • Alice Steuerwald  
    • $50 
    • 4 d
  • Meredith Harvey 
    • $20 
    • 4 d
  • Tehya Shea-Minger 
    • $50 
    • 4 d

Organizer and beneficiary 

Omar Aena 
Brooklyn, NY
Koa Kalish 
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