Rare Genetic Disorder
Photographer - Sandra Arenas
Eight years ago, I stood up, fell down and never walked again. A rare connective tissue disease wrapped around my spinal cord. After two brain surgeries, a rare heart condition and seizures, God continued to show me that He was with me. He instilled in me a fighting spirit and I was grateful for the reminder because I would call on it throughout the years. Something in my gut told me to apply for a service dog with Canine Companions for Independence. Through this organization I met my husband who also has a service dog. My husband Frank and I, along with our two dogs will be celebrating our first anniversary in October!
Being chosen for this exhibit has given me newfound confidence. My life has taken amazing turns the last few years, the best things in my life have happened, and I see God at work through all of them. Not only has the experience of being a model in Raw Beauty made me feel beautiful, it has added another dimension to my life that I’ve only dreamed about. The biggest stereotypes start with the ones in your own mind: How can I be beautiful in a wheelchair? Oh, I can, and I am! I’ve learned that my diagnosis or medical condition shouldn’t define you: I define me!
Sandra Arenas Originally from Lima, Peru, Sandra moved to Miami in 2001. She loves portraiture, documenting the real world and shooting fashion, which she considers the un-real world. A little bit of everything interests her and she approaches it all with an open mind. Her life is divided between Miami, NY and Lima, Peru with a few extended layovers in places like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Oslo Norway. Along the way she has had the opportunity to travel and learn from amazing people and places; she interned at Annie Leibovitz Studio and Milk Studios. She participated in the Art Basel 2012 Miami Beach in the Exposition at SCOPE Art Show - Art Takes Miami - in collaboration with Artists Wanted with her pictures from Cuzco, Peru. Currently she is a contributor to several magazines, newspapers and agencies such as Elite Daily, Hola Peru, CMYK, Ford Models and Milk Made, calling NYC her home. Visit Sandra online at www.sandraarenas.com