It was Sandy Ellis’ two aunts, one from each of her parent’s side, that was the motivation for “Fight Like A Girl Club.”
Two aunts, both diagnosed with cancer.
Inspired, Ellis began selling Fight Like A Girl T-shirts in 2006 and in 2010, took to the Internet, starting a Facebook page for people not just facing cancer, but serious illnesses.
“People would come and share stories and it was like a support group,” she said.
Ellis, who has been figting a heart defect since she was 20, understands the fight—and the support offered by others.
“The name just fit,” she said. “It’s a phrase of empowerment.”
Soon, “FLAGC” as it is often referred to, exploded online.
“FLAGC grew enormously online, so fast,” Ellis said.
In addition to a burgeoning online support group for those fighting life-altering diseases, survivors and loved ones, FLAGC items, in its trademark hot pink, began selling like hotcakes.
“It reached a point where I couldn’t keep up with it,” Ellis said. She was getting help from individuals around the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
“It’s hard to work from a distance; I had no choice but to run it from a brick and mortar place.”
This year, Fight Like A Girl opened at 26583 Center Ridge Rd. in Westlake Commons next to Pepperidge Farms and Claudette’s Cafe.
Ellis expects the "Fight Like A Girl" movement to go national with each state having a branch.
The store will operate as FLAGC central, shipping products and offering retail items.
“We had no intention for a storefront, but here we are,” Ellis said. “We thought, why not sell our gear out front?”
Now, Fight Like A Girl T-shirts, gift items, sports bottles, hats, jewelry, and silicone wrist bands of every color will be available for retail purchase on Aug. 15. The items are already stocked in numerous stores, including 25 Walgreen's in Florida.
“We have every color wristband, because we support all causes,” Ellis said.
The company, which also operates Fight Like a Girl Foundation, the non-profit segment, selected pink because it represents females.
“People think it’s because of breast cancer, but it’s not,” Ellis said. “It’s
Still the male contingency of FLAGC is about 10 percent male, mostly supporting a female in their lives, but a few also fighting a medical condition.
Ellis has her own male contingency of supporters in her husband Tony, who helps with accounting and son Drew, 23, who manages all computer-related functions for the company.
The business also has a strong fundraising arm. Teams can sell FLAGC gear and 40 percent will go back to charity.
“We have a lot of teams that support one individual struggling financially because of a medical condition, Ellis said.
Next year will debut Fight Like A Girl Magazine.