Local Breast Cancer Survivor Raises Awareness Through Karma Candles
Photographer / Glenda White
“Instead of living in doubt and fear, I choose to live in light and create to share that light with others,” states Cari Hahn when speaking of the candle company she founded.
Karma Candles is an example of conquering adversity by using creative energy to produce something positive that benefits others. After holding jobs in the public sector, Hahn has come full circle back to her college major of art therapy by creating a line of high-end candles that not only look lovely but also have wonderful aromas. Producing candles has been a healing process for her and a way to raise funds and generate in-kind donations for organizations that support breast cancer patients.
In spring 2016, Hahn was happily living the life of a busy wife to her firefighter husband and a mom to her two, twin teenage daughters. Then her world turned upside down. At only 40 years old and with no family history, Hahn was diagnosed with stage two cancer in both breasts.
“I had just had a complete physical in January,” she says. “In March, I was sitting at my computer when I scratched an itch and felt something. I went in for a mammogram and lesions were discovered on both sides. A biopsy determined I had cancer. And my journey began.”
During the eight months she was in treatment, Hahn only took three weeks off from her full-time job as executive assistant to the mayor of Westfield. The goal was to live as normally as possible while going through the necessary surgery, chemotherapy and bilateral radiation.
“I wanted to keep busy and keep my mind busy, but within a couple of months after finishing treatment, I needed to step back,” she says. “I realized I needed to focus on my health and my kids. I left my full-time job and began working part-time as a real estate assistant. But I needed something more.
“When I was in treatment, I loved surrounding myself with candles. My daughters love expensive candles and I thought, ‘I bet I could make those!’ So, my daughters and I started making them together. I wanted to make the cleanest candle I could, that still had fragrance. Each candle is made of soy wax that is hand-poured and hand-wicked. The tops are reheated to make them smooth and the labels are handwritten.”
The candles are infused with natural essential oils, are phthalate and paraffin-free and the wicks are made of zinc-free cotton wicks. They are sold at Endeavor Boutique, AH Collection, Purse Strings, Reveal by Polish, Twisted Sisters and the online curated gift box company, Something Splendid. Customers can create their own candles by visiting the Karma Candles we
bsite. First, a lidded vessel ranging from $24 to $38 is chosen such as a colorful cut glass or cloche container. Then a fragrance is selected. Among aromas available are citrusy Good Karma, flowery Day Spa or cinnamon-scented Autumn Stroll.
“Currently, for each purchase of a pink pineapple Candle for a Cause, I donate one to a person battling cancer or to the Megan S. Ott Foundation,” Hahn says. “I donate $10 to the IWINN Foundation for each pink lace Candle for a Cause. I enjoy doing local fundraisers and have donated my time and supplies for pouring parties (group candle making) for charities like Cocktails and Chemo. And I donate to cancer foundations when they ask.
“In May I decided to work full time on the business,” Hahn adds. “I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I wake up happy every day because it gives me so much joy. I believe what we put out in this world we receive in return.
Visit KarmaCandlesStore.com for more information.