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Scuba Diving Pioneer Turns to Jewelry Designs in Cancer Fight

By Angela Sun, REDONDO BEACH, Calif. 

Fear is something that doesn’t register for Szilvia Gogh.

She had scuba dived all seven continents, logged over 5,000 dives, and created the first online community for women to come together called Miss Scuba, in a time where there weren’t many women in the sport and the internet was still dial up speed.

But for the youngest to enter the women’s diving hall of fame, her journey hasn’t always been all bubbles...

“I was always a tomboy, and I’ve always had to fight twice as hard to be appreciated half as much in the dive industry," Gogh said.

Born in then communist Hungary, she started scuba diving at 13 years old in a sport called orienteering, and knew after her first visit to the ocean that she wanted to travel the world as a dive instructor. After college in Budapest, she took off to live and worked all over the globe. 

“Everything really starts with dreaming about something you want to make a reality," she said.“Everything really starts with dreaming about something you want to make a reality," she said.

Realizing her dreams of living in California came through a chance job offer from a local dive shop in Burbank 17 years ago. 

“Im a dreamer, warrior, survivor, but every now and then I need a reminder," Gogh said.

When she was 14, her father died of breast cancer at 39. When she was 39, her mother and cousin passed of breast cancer, and she was also diagnosed with the disease at the age of 39.   

“Of course I have breast cancer. I am 39, but I'm not going to die at 39," she said. "I have a 2-year-old, finally I have a family, I have roots down in California. It's just an option.”

She tackled the disease the way she approaches life—fearlessly. She uses jewelry design not only as an outlet to reach others, but as her own meditative practice as well. 

Her jewelry is a culmination of her life’s journey in physical form. She collects many of the materials she uses in the jewelry from her travels, and even the ocean floor. 

“To get anywhere in life you have to believe you can doit," she said. "That’s the key to success in my mind.”

For this female ocean trailblazer, the world truly is her oyster and the best is yet to come.

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