Fashion Funds The Fight

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Cancer Cartel


By Kerry Solmonsen
Photographs by Angela Carlyle

Katy, Kerry and Shelly are three brave, female cancer survivors who have taken something awful and turned it into something good: Cancer Cartel — a passion driven organization dedicated to cleaning up the cost of cancer. These three women not only survived some of the toughest challenges life can throw at a person, but are now transforming that experience into life changing action for others now in the fight. They’ve taken their love for fashion and beauty and created a nonprofit that is making a meaningful difference in the lives of people facing significant health challenges.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill nonprofit — these ladies are creative and driven business minded entrepreneurs who bring plenty of savvy to the success of their organization.. They deeply understand the people they’re trying to help and their dedication is unmatched, as all three have firsthand knowledge of the financial impact created by cancer. Cancer Cartel is a true grass-roots organization with a goal to give away100% of its raised funds directly to people fighting cancer.

There are plenty of large organizations who raise money for cancer research and fund medical bills. Cancer Cartel works to cover the cost of life: fuel in the car to drive to treatment, the additional cost of eating in the hospital cafeteria, daily necessities and household bills;
This is Cancer Cartel’s aim.
They alleviate the pressure of being unable to afford the little things, and in so doing, free the mind and body to heal.
Here, they share how their story began, their mission, and some seriously enormous goals that these three brave women have set for Cancer Cartel.

“This isn’t your run-of-the-mill nonprofit. These ladies are creative and driven.They are three female cancer warriors.”


Katy and I went to a nonprofit event in the Seattle area. On the way home we started talking about the outrageous financial burden cancer causes –not just the medical bills, but the general increased cost of living.
“What if WE could make a difference?” With a shared love of fashion and shopping, we knew our plan had to involve both. By the time we got home,we had the idea –become the Real Real of the nonprofit world! We would take donated luxury fashion items and turn them into a funding vehicle to help real people fighting a real financial battle with cancer. When Katy got home, she called her sister Shelly, a fellow cancer survivor, and serious fashionista; she was immediately on board!


We were aware of organizations supporting different aspects of cancer treatment expenses and research, but we saw a unique piece of a person’s experience that didn’t seem to be supported anywhere — the suddenly elevated cost of the rest of your life!
From travel expenses and prescription drugs for treatments to more meals out, there are countless expenses, small and large, that add up fast and weigh heavily. We also realized many people starting their cancer journeys lacked awareness of this financial burden and we knew we had to help. With that, Cancer Cartel’s structure was created: we award cash gifts directly to cancer warriors. Whether it’s an Amazon gift card to cover some basic necessities(a method we adopted during COVID), or a check mailed to families directly, we are cleaning up the cost of cancer. Our grant recipients come from many different sources. Some submit themselves, or are nominated on our website,while others come to us through partnerships from medical professionals nationwide.
Don’t let the pink fool you–we help people–men, women, and families– with ALL forms of cancer across the country!


Our fundraising model has multiple arms. First and foremost, we accept donations of luxury fashion goods and sell them online and at events.Again, the Real Real of the nonprofit space.
We also create strategic brand partnerships. In today’s retail environment, causes sell, and partnering with brands will advance our mission further, faster. Another source of growing revenue comes from our direct-to-consumer branded clothing and accessory lines on our website.
Additionally, we are adding to our Fashion Funds the Fight trademark, by launching Beauty Funds the Fight in early 2021 and are excited to partner with some fabulous beauty brands on that front.

Of course we always accept financial contributions a swell and are actively seeking grants and sponsorships! Recently, we partnered with Benevity which has enabled us to accept corporate payroll giving. All this and more can be found at


All three of us have been volunteering more than full-time hours over the past year in order to get Cancer Cartel off and running, but we want this to be our careers.
We started with zero dollars and a lot of passion and in a short time have already accomplished some amazing results. In 2020 during a pandemic,we gifted over $58,000, and we hope to partner with corporate sponsors or angel investors to help cover our administrative budget so we can dramatically increase the impact of our work.
We are three experienced, business-minded,capable, driven women who plan on spending the rest of our working lives dedicated to Cancer Cartel. In order to take the organization to the next level and help more people, we need grant and sponsorship funds. This is our next step in creating the nonprofit we wish had existed during our cancer fights and our ultimate goal of granting$11 million annually to people in need.


There are so many ways you can help! If you have some luxury fashion items in your closet you are ready to part with, send those pieces our way. If you love luxury fashion, sustainability, and helping people — shop on our website! We have some great Cancer Cartel gear there too, so you can rep the cause and spread the word!!
Make a financial gift: we have a one-time giving option as well as a monthly pledge program. You can also select Cancer Cartel in Amazon Smile.
If your company offers corporate giving or matching, choose Cancer Cartel as your charity.If your company has a grant program, nominateus, connect us with your team, or pass along the information.
Finally, share us with your community! Whether on your social media platform, at your monthly office meeting, or at your weekly happy hour with friends.
Awareness helps us find both supporters and grant recipients!
We need you! This mission does not flourish with our hard work and dedication alone. In one short year, our lives have been changed by changing the lives of others. If you do good, you feel good. If you feel good, you do good. Thank you for doing good with us.
Check out our website at
and our social media

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