Carmel breast cancer survivor turns darkness into art


By Desiree Williams

April 2016 changed her world forever. Cari Hahn had just turned 40 and found a lump in her breast after a routine workout. Following her first mammogram, Hahn was diagnosed with stage 2 bilateral breast cancer with a 30 percent chance of metastasis.

Now three years post-treatment, Hahn has left a career in realty and office management to return to her art therapy roots for healing. Inspired by her twin daughters’ love for burning candles, Hahn began making candles as a hobby.

“When you’re in treatment, there’s a plan and a system in place and you follow that,” the Carmel resident said. “I think when you’re done, you’re like ‘OK, what do I do now?’”

“Again, having breast cancer, I started researching what was in my home and come to find out, I’ve since changed a lot of my cleaning products and the products I use on my body. So, I just wanted cleaner products in the house”

In May 2019, Hahn ventured into business ownership with Karma Candles. All candles in her online shop are wicked, poured, heated, smoothed and canned by hand. Hahn uses soy wax and lead- and zinc-free cotton wicks.

Hahn donates many candles to those battling cancer or their caregivers, always including a handwritten note to look for the light out of the darkness.

“I want to have a business that does good things and that gives back to the community that gave so much to me,” she said.

Karma Candles offers more than 15 scents and various glass vessels for guests to customize their luxury candle. Some scents include bamboo, coconut, vanilla, mahogany and jasmine, among others. Hahn also hosts pouring parties for up to 12 guests.

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