Meet founder, Kara Skaflestad, who has been "Fighting Pretty" since 2008.
At the age of 26 years, two months after her "Mema" passed away after a long battle with breast cancer, Kara did a self breast exam in the shower. When she found a suspicious lump in her armpit area, she went to her doctor and was told she was “too young to worry.” She pushed for them to have a closer examination, only to find out that she did, in fact, have stage 3 breast cancer, which is considered to be an advanced and invasive stage of the disease.
After facing a double mastectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy, four weeks of radiation, fertility treatments, a year of Herceptin treatments and hormone therapy that would last for a total of 10 years, Kara realized she wanted to go through this ordeal by “Fighting Pretty”—with a smile on her face, lipstick on her lips, and strength in her heart.
It was a pair of mini pink boxing gloves given to her by her best friend's mom, Meg O'Hanlon, another breast cancer survivor, that always reminded her to stay strong and never give up.
A family friend was diagnosed a few years after Kara finished treatment. Kara knew she needed to send on her strength. So Kara packed up her boxing gloves along with some lipstick and beauty accessories and the first Pretty Package was sent.
Since becoming a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in 2013, Fighting Pretty has moved from Kara's apartment in New York City to a headquarters in Portland, Oregon, with two part-time employees. In just a few years, Fighting Pretty has sent over 9,000 Pretty Packages to all 50 U.S. states and 15 countries globally and has received over $1 million worth of product donations from top cosmetic brands to go into Pretty Packages.
Kara and Fighting Pretty have been recognized by Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show, Kara has been featured as an "empowered woman who empowers women" by Gap Body, and was the Ulta Beauty survivor featured in the 2018 October global advertisingcampaign. Kara is on the board of the American Cancer Society and works full time as the Marketing Manager at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.
In January of 2020, Kara underwent another surgery to have her breast implants removed due to the recall on Allergan implants. She is currently "flat and fabulous" and has just reached her 11th year as a cancer survivor!
Kara now lives healthy and happily in Oregon with her dog (and Fighting Pretty mascot) Archie.
Follow Kara and Fighting Pretty on Instagram:
@karaskaf / @fightingpretty
A LOOK AT KARA
Get in Touch with Kara!
If you are interested in asking Kara a cancer-related question, book a speaking engagement or more, fill out the form below with details.
Fighting Pretty HQ:
2300 SW 1st Avenue
Portland, OR 97201