Charity Spotlight: The Chemo Noir Story


Cancer impacts everyone.

We have all had a friend, family member, colleague or child who has battled cancer.  Some of us win, and for some of us, cancer wins. Cancer is non-discriminant, unfair, ugly and takes everything. It takes your body, your mind, your work, your money… but it can never take your soul, and cancer will never win that battle.

When cancer strikes, you are fighting for your life, you are fighting for your support group, and you are fighting the financial struggle. For me, cancer all started on June 24, 2014. I embraced that morning, just like any other day. A run on the beach and then as I was getting ready for a business lunch… it all changed.

I woke up after a shower passed out on my condo floor… alone and confused. I was rapidly feeling indescribable pain, was having trouble breathing, was violently ill, and moments later was E.R. bound. They revealed to me that I was bleeding internally and was being rushed into what would be a five-hour surgery. The next morning, my surgeon came in and told me what would change my world forever. “You have cancer.”

I turned to my mom, and said, “I got this,” as I would be starting chemo in 30 days.  No choice, my surgeon removed Stage III colon cancer from me, and I trusted that this was the only next step. Go beat it.

Days later, I experienced a saddle pulmonary embolism. As if this all wasn’t enough, I was then sent to the ICU for another couple or weeks. Release day was, appropriately, July 4, Independence Day.

Chemo was nine months long, every other week. I had to give myself shots every day, I was on steroids, and I was essentially home bound.  It was next-level surreal. This was all very much out of my control, but I tried to make the best of it. I would call my chemo cocktails “martinis,” I called my oncology appointments “booty calls,” and during my three days of infusions, I would designate a night for comfort food and wine — these were my “Chemo Noir” nights.

Even with insurance, I had NO idea how expensive this journey would be, and years later, I am still recovering from it all. I also knew I wanted to do something with Chemo Noir.  I thought to take something that brought me such comfort in my journey to try to provide some to others in their battles with cancer. This fight is hard enough on everyone involved, and money is stressful in life. We want to provide some financial relief so those with cancer, so they can focus on the FIGHT and not the stress of finances.

The philanthropic mission of Chemo Noir is to host and inspire wine-centric events that raise money to provide financial support to families, friends and fighters in their battle with the disease. We raise money through donations, events, merchandise and partnerships.

Chemo Noir has established some incredible local partnerships with Coastal Wine Market, Big Fish Yoga, Jax Surf & Paddle, DOME Headwear Co, Pilates on 3rd, Fitness by Fronk, AON and One Call. Our corporate and community partners have been amazingly supportive of our mission and continue to help us build awareness.

Get Involved: Chemo Noir 1 Mile & Tasting Event: June 16, 2018

One of the biggest fundraisers is the Chemo Noir 1 Mile & Tasting Event, which will be held in Jacksonville Beach on Saturday, June 16th at 4 p.m. This 1-mile run and wine tasting event will be the classiest 1-mile fun run event ever. The race will begin at the Jacksonville Beach Pier on a course that will be a half mile out and a half mile back. The half mile turn will be dedicated to one of the very first Chemo Noir supporters and friends, Tara Newton Richardson, and will be a cheering section and water station known as Tara’s Turn.

The finishline will recognize partners, sponsors and supporters. At the conclusion of the 1-Mile Run, presented by One Call, there will be a festive walk down to the tasting reception, presented by Coastal Wine Market, at Casa Marina.

Click here to register for the Chemo Noir 1 Mile & Tasting Event at Jacksonville Beach on June 16.

Mark Your Calendar to Support Chemo Noir

  • Sunrise Pilates on International Pilates Day: May 5 at 6:30 a.m. Donation-based class, learn more here.
  • Practice with Purpose at Big Fish Yoga: Every Sunday at 4 p.m. for $5.
  • Sweat, Stretch & Sip: July 2018
  • CRUSH CANCER: August 2018
  • Vinyasa + Vino: September 2018
  • Fall Gala: October 2018

Donations are also accepted here, via Amazon Smile. The official Chemo Noir wine is available for purchase at Coastal Wine Market.

About the Author

“My goal with Chemo Noir was not just to start a nonprofit, but more so to create a lifestyle brand and a community around our mission. This initiative is very near and dear to my heart, and although it was founded on my story it will very soon be about all of our impact stories.” –Katrin Casey, Founder of Chemo Noir


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