There is no doubt, facing a cancer diagnosis is extremely difficult and comes with many insecurities. Fighting Pretty, centered in Portland, aims to help women facing any cancer diagnosis to feel empowered and has sent over 4,500 packages nationally and internationally.

Kara Skaflestad, the founder of the non-profit, was inspired to create the organization after fighting her own battle with breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, fertility treatments, and hormone therapy.

In the midst of her fight, someone gave her pink boxing gloves, and the unique gift eventually became Kara’s symbol to never give up. In an interview with Koin 6 News, she said “It was really my symbol to keep fighting and to never give up.”

After completing her treatment, she gave the pink boxing gloves along with some makeup to a friend who was also diagnosed with breast cancer; with this gift, the idea for Fighting Pretty began to form.

“It was kind of the first pretty package that I ever sent. Then she went on to pass on her boxing gloves, and they went on to five people.” Kara said.

The packages now include a bright pink box, items to motivate the receiver, including a pair of mini pink boxing gloves, and beauty products such as scarves and makeup. Each box has the greeting, “Hello Beautiful!”

“Fighting Pretty really encourages and empowers women to remember how strong and beautiful and amazing they are. Whether they have hair or no hair, breasts or no breasts, they are still an incredible, amazing woman.”

Reflecting on her own experience, Kayla hopes that Fighting Pretty will remind cancer fighters and survivors that they are still special, beautiful, and loved, even if they lose their hair or breasts.

“I lost my hair, my eye lashes, and had a double mastectomy. I lost my breasts. That was really hard. I mean, at first looking at myself in the mirror coming out of the shower, it was shocking.”

The boxes are funded through $30 donations to the non-profit and are usually sent by someone the cancer fighter knows and loves.

Helen Cook is a current honors student at Benedictine College, where she is studying History with possible minors in English and Political Science. She is heavily active in student life, participating in three music ensembles as a violinist and leading Ravens Respect Life as president. When she is not busy with school and student life activities, she is found reading the many classical works of literature.