Katrin Casey is the founder and chairman of Chemo Noir, a local nonprofit organization, and an Allen D. Nease High School alumna who currently lives at the Beaches.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background?
My journey through sports and cancer are what have brought me to where I am today. I enjoyed a successful soccer career and worked for the Super Bowl when it was here in Jacksonville. My life as an athlete has been a huge part of my foundation professionally, and honestly was what got me through cancer. Being a survivor is one of my proudest accomplishments and victories, and I knew that I wanted to do something with it.
What’s the story of Chemo Noir?
Chemo Noir became a concept when I was in treatment. When I could sip on a little pinot noir with my mom or friends, I would call those my “Chemo Noir” nights. So, I took a concept and made it a brand. I was a shocked at the financial strains of cancer – even with insurance, it is expensive. The fight and surreality are enough, but there are still stresses that come from the money side. So, I wanted to do something about it, and started Chemo Noir.
Our philanthropic mission is to host and inspire wine-centric events that raise money to provide financial support to the families, friends and fighters in their battle with cancer.
What are your goals for the organization?
The ultimate goal is to help those battling this awful and unjust disease by alleviating some of their financial stress from their medical expenses. I also want to create a lifestyle brand, a community and to eventually bottle wine. It’s been so amazing to watch this all happen in our first year of existence.
Does Chemo Noir have any upcoming events our readers should know about? How can people get involved?
There are quite a few ways that folks can get involved. It can be as simple as shopping on Amazon at smile.amazon.com, and if you select Chemo Noir, a portion of your spend goes to our organization. We have had some of our friends select Chemo Noir as their birthday donation on Facebook, and have raised over $5,000 to date via these super generous efforts. We are the Practice With Purpose recipient for 2018 at Big Fish Yoga at the beach. It’s a $5 drop in class every Sunday at 4 p.m., and all of the monies go to Chemo Noir.
We partner with Jax Surf & Paddle, and they are fundraising daily for us via their retail sales, and we may do some cobranded merchandise soon. You can actually buy Chemo Noir wine via our private label pilot program at Coastal Wine Market in Nocatee – they are incredible partners and have helped make all our wine tasting events so special. You can "host a party," and find more about how to do that on our website chemonoir.com. You can also buy merchandise on our website. In addition, we have launched some corporate partnerships, and most recently became the charitable recipient of AON’s wellness initiative. And last but certainly not least, we have fundraising events throughout the year. We will have a 1 Mile Run & Tasting Event at the beach (date coming soon) and a Gala this fall. We also have some partner events – Vinyasa + Vino at Big Fish Yoga on Feb. 24, and a Crush Cancer event in August 2018 at Coastal Wine Market. Our upcoming events are on our Facebook page @chemonoir and website at chemonoir.com.
What do you enjoy most about living in the Beaches community?
The beach has always been a source of goodness and peace for me. Even though I was not a surfer in high school, I was always doing my soccer training and running on the beach. The beach was the inspiration for the 1 Mile Run & Tasting Event. After going through my treatment and surgeries, I ran for the first time after nearly a year-and-a-half of not being able to run. I went for a 1-mile run on the beach and cried the whole time … I remember thinking in that moment, “I’m back.” The beach as a community is incredible. It’s a generous and active community that takes great care of itself. I just love it. Even our Chemo Noir partners are all beach peeps … Dome Headwear Co (Jax Beach), Jax Surf & Paddle (Atlantic Beach Town Center), Coastal Wine Market (Nocatee) and Big Fish Yoga (Jax Beach).
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am writing a lot in my free time and working on my first book. I also stay active and am trying to get back to my fit self. I also love to travel and enjoy QT with friends & family. And of course, I have a little wine hobby that I enjoy. In addition to Chemo Noir, I run a creative consultancy that helps growing companies with their brand and evolutions.