Lights, Cancer, Action
Come along with Christa Wittmier and her inspirational documentary — The Adventures of SUPERCW — that follows her journey with cancer and taps into the unsinkable hope that lives within all of us.
Christa Wittmier has lived an adventurous life. She served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years, and has traveled to places all over Europe, Africa and Australia. She moved to Hawai‘i and fell in love with the nightlife scene, making a name for herself as one of Honolulu’s premier DJs in her SuperCW persona and garnering a hefty following on social media. She’s worn hats as a blogger, storyteller, columnist, marketing director, event coordinator and a co-founding director for POW! WOW! Hawai‘i.
And then, in spring 2015, at the age of 39, Wittmier was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Life as she knew it came to a halt — she retired from her marketing director position with Young’s Market Company of Hawai‘i, took a hiatus from DJing and reassessed. But in no way did that mean life stopped.
She just found new adventures to embark on.
Her latest project is documentary The Adventures of SUPERCW.
“I never thought I would be making a film,” she admits. “But now that I’m doing it, it feels so natural. It feels like this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Formerly titled Invisible Illness, Wittmier chose to rename the film to portray values more in line with her lifestyle, specifically those of hope and positivity. The Adventures of SUPERCW is a retelling of her cancer journey, from her diagnosis in May 2015 to remission four months later. (In June 2016, the cancer returned and spread to her liver, lungs and brain.)
She bares all in the movie, showing viewers the ugly side of cancer no one wants to talk about.
“The emotional side effects are hard,” admits Wittmier.
But that’s just a small part. She also discusses in honest detail the routes she took to find physical and emotional healing.
The two-minute trailer moves people to tears. But there’s no hopelessness in the emotion, which is exactly what Wittmier wants.
“We want it to be hopeful, not just another sad story,” she says, even in the midst of her current health status.
At the time of this interview, Wittmier showed three spots on her recent scan. Little reminders, she calls them.
“It could happen like that again,” she had said. “It can literally explode again.”
A week later, a routine scan showed active cancer throughout her body. Yet, she maintains that positive message she portrays in the film: Don’t give up, keep fighting.
“This is a film that’s going to help so many people, and they don’t even have to be affected by cancer,” Wittmier says. “I’m here to find ways to help people, whether it’s just to get your mind off of things for a while, or just to try and keep that positive spirit. And it’s not easy, you know? I know, too.
“Anyone can go through a dark patch. I think there’s a time where everyone is struggling with heartbreak or some kind of illness or family issues, and this film will show people another way to deal with life’s struggles.”
The precursor to the film was Wittmier’s Snapchat stories, which have been made into an eight-minute compilation of her four-month journey from diagnosis to remission.
But interspersed within those eight minutes are hilarious, good-natured moments of how one woman chose to fight and stay hopeful in a dismal situation.
To date, the original Snap-chat video has more than 60,000 views, a testament to the power of positivity.
“Each one of those views is someone who needs help or needs some kind of inspiration or hope,” she says.
That’s when her big idea came to fruition.
“Just think what a film can do,” Wittmier recalls thinking.
Shooting for what would become The Adventures of SUPER-CW started in 2015 on the day of her last chemotherapy treatment, and ups and downs were many for Wittmier as she progressed through production. People had to drop out for personal reasons, and at one point it didn’t seem like funding would come through on the last leg of the journey — postproduction.
Wittmier started an online giving campaign and raised $20,000 — just $10,000 short of the predetermined $30,000 postproduction goal. Around the same time, she heard about Susan G. Komen Hawai‘i’s grant program and decided to apply.
“We got it,” she says. “And it was exactly $10,000.”
It’s just another example of the kismet surrounding the project, and, perhaps, the affects of the affirmative energy Wittmier is generating along the way.
“I don’t see everything this exact as a coincidence,” she says. “I really believe there is a higher power pushing this film forward. Right when I really need some-
thing, it happens, and the more I trust, then the more beautiful the reward is.”
Now that postproduction is fully funded, Wittmier can focus on her big ideas for the film.
“I plan to go far — as far as I can go,” she says. “I want to have the world premiere at a big film festival, show it at home, and after that, just whoever will have me — women’s support groups, hospitals, colleges.
“When the film is ready, I will be reaching out everywhere; anywhere that would be interested in screening the film and then we can do a Q&A after, and then I would DJ the after party. That’s my plan for next year.”
In the meantime, Wittmier is keeping busy with her pup BuBear, regular early-morning meditations at Daihonzan Chozen-ji International Zen Dojo, growing Aloha Cancer Project, and is DJing once again. Her plate, it seems, is pretty full at this point, and we’ll just have to wait and see where her next adventure takes her.
‘Who’s The Little Bear?’
These days, you’ll rarely see Christa Wittmier out and about without little BuBear in tow. It’s hard to say who’s saving who in the relationship, though. When Wittmier’s cancer returned in June 2016, she was given a no more than a year to live. The news, to say the least, was shocking. Wittmier then asked her doctor for two things: a medical marijuana card and a letter that allows her to have a service animal.
Letter in hand, she scoured the internet for dogs available for adoption and made her way to the foster home where BuBear the black Pomeranian was staying. The living conditions were terrible, Wittmier recalls. It broke her heart.
It was the first time Wittmier witnessed what she calls BuBear’s “old man cough.” In addition to the tracheal collapse, the pup also had heart failure, bad hips and heartworms.
“But he’s still here,” Wittmier adds. “And he’s actually doing a lot better. I think he just needed someone to care for him and love him.”
There’s no doubt 13-year-old BuBear feels the love. Wittmier’s face lights up whenever he ambles over to her.
“Who’s the little bear?” she croons. “That’s you! Who’s the sweetest? That’s you!”
You can follow BuBear (@bubeartheblackpom) and Wittmier (@supercw) on Instagram — yes, she made him his own account.
“If I didn’t, then all of my pictures on my Instagram would be of him,” she laughs.
Hey DJ, Play That Song
After her stage 4 cancer diagnosis, Christa Wittmier was put on disability leave by her doctors. It meant retiring from her marketing job at Young’s Market Company of Hawai‘i and taking a step back from DJing as SuperCW. Wittmier, still on disability, currently isn’t working, but says that DJing is once again a big part of her life.
“DJing is more of a passion,” she says. “It’s one of those things that just gives me life.”
If you can’t catch her at one of her appearances, Wittmier has a ton of playlists available for public consumption. Keep up with her on Spotify (search Christa Wittmier), or Sound-Cloud at soundcloud.com/supercw.
This week, she shares with MidWeek readers a special playlist of feel-good songs to uplift moods and bring a smile to the most downtrodden:
Atlantis 1997, Futurecop!
On Our Way, The Royal Concept
All of Me, Tanlines
Friend (Hard Times), Galantis
Smile, Gorgon City
So Good To Me, Chris Malinchak
Alive, Empire of the Sun
This Charming Man, The Smiths
Heading Home, Gryffin
I Got U, Duke Dumont
Young Blood, The Naked and Famous
You Make Me Feel Good, Satin Jackets
Brightside, The Knocks
Idea of Happiness, Van She
I’m in Love, Alex Gaudino
Near Wild Heaven, R.E.M.
No Other High, Touch Sensitive
Sweet Disposition, Temper Trap
Alive And Driving
You’ve probably seen it. You know, that white BMW with the stellar pink pattern?
Well, standing out is kind of the point, according to owner Christa Wittmier. She wanted to use her car as a platform to raise awareness for breast cancer after she found out that the cancer she was diagnosed with in 2015 reappeared in her liver, lungs and brain.
“After I got sick again, my life expectancy dropped,” she says. “But it was coming up on my birthday, so I decided to do a big fundraiser birthday event.”
Invited to that party was artist Aaron De La Cruz, who who painted the same pattern in black on her former BMW 318ti during his ‘The Long Walk Home’ solo exhibition in 2011.
By the time her 2016 party rolled around, she had traded up to a newer model — also white — and asked De La Cruz to paint it in the same design only in pink.
“The idea was whenever anyone sees it on the road, they would know it’s me, and that I’m still alive and thriving,” she says.