Aunt Gertie on Life: Aunt Gertie and Shani the Lady with a Dream

Aunt Gertie and Shani Rae Erickson (on left).

Shani Rae Erickson has a smile as big and beautiful as a Seal Beach sunset! Aunt Gertie is so impressed by her spirit and energy. The whole town loves Shani, a woman with a heart of gold. Her dream is to knock out childhood poverty and cancer, so she gets busy raising a ton of money to combat these tragedies. But wait, there’s more! Her friend, Cathy Bekke talked her into joining the Lions Club and she’s become one of their biggest fund raisers.

Shani was the first person to cook for Fisher House at Long Beach Veterans Hospital and she gathered up 300 DVD’s to donate to the organization. The list of charitable things she’s participated in goes on and on!

Shani was born in Canoga Park and raised in Orange Park Acres. Her mother raised guide dogs but Shani loved horses and became an accomplished equestrian and trick rider! Wow! This woman is full of surprises!

She went to Linda Vista Elementary School and graduated El Modena High School in 1988. She studied at Cal State Fullerton, then Colorado State University, graduating in 1993, with BA’s in Journalism and Speech. She even became a Disc Jockey for a while!

She came back to California to be closer to her family and in 2004, married the love of her life, Jerry Erickson. She became a stepmom to Mitchell Erickson and told me it was one of the best things that ever happened to her, along with teaching children in the 5th grade who absolutely adore her. They sing to her, bring her drawings filled with love and one girl even gave her a dress which Shani proudly wore to school!

Ms Shani Rae Erickson is a 14 year breast cancer survivor and Aunt Gertie says, “In my book, she has successfully battled a killer and made an enormous impact and a real difference in so many people’s lives, especially children, and I so love her for it!”

I am so glad Shani Rae and Jerry Erickson have chosen to live in Seal Beach, the Tiny Crown Jewel of the Southern California Coastline! You can contact Shani on Facebook or thru the Lions Club of Seal Beach.

Karen Hadley, creator of Aunt Gertie, can be reached by surface mail at Karen Hadley, PO Box 34, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or email at