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The Survivor Spirit: The beauty, passion, and power of breast cancer survivors 

Published in 2009 through Pencilhead Productions by James Anshutz and author Cynthia Y.H. Derosier

The Survivor Spirit features 20 women who are battling breast cancer from a positive and uplifting perspective. We created a series of portrait sessions to visually show how each woman found her strength during their battle with breast cancer. The images are an expression of where each woman found her courage conveyed through their uplifting portraits ideas and inspirational stories.  In 2009, the book received National Independent Publishers Award for women's issues and personally gave these women an opportunity to feel beautiful again. The stories and portraits are intended to inspire other women to fight their battles with courage and perseverance. 


When I was approached to create a gallery exhibition for breast cancer awareness month in 2007, I instantly knew that I had to use my creativity and production resources to help. Seeing family and friends suffer through this disease with the most optimistic perspective was truly inspirational, and now I had an opportunity to share that side of it. I collaborated with the community to provide a free full production photo shoot and makeover to women who would share their uplifting stories. The original 2006-2008 series was titled 'Portraits of Survival' and featured makeovers and wig styling for 27 women. The pro bono series continued for 2 years until becoming this amazing book. It warmed my soul to see how simply making these women feel beautiful at one of the darkest times of their life, could make such a difference. This project inspired me to create the followup experience for children with cancer called The Lemuria Project and it has changed my life tremendously! Here are some of the images from the book.

Our cover girl!

Media Links

Honolulu Star Advertiser

By Paula Rath


The statistics are shockingly familiar: One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.


Although it can be a devastating disease, breast cancer can also bring women strength and hope. A new book, "The Survivor Spirit," profiles 20 Island women who have grown through the experience of having breast cancer. Not only have they survived, they have thrived, discovering inspiration and positive change...

Star Bulletin

Joleen Oshiro


Photographer James Anshutz has been working to reveal that inspired power in breast cancer survivors though "Portraits of Survival," an exhibit featuring photographs of 27 women....

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