Anti-Cancer Club seeks financing for its next phase |

Anti-Cancer Club seeks financing for its next phase

John Seelmeyer

Pat Wetzel isn’t terribly concerned about raising the $1 million, maybe twice that much, she needs to power the next phase of development of her Reno-based Anti-Cancer Club LLC.

“Money? It’s a matter of perseverance more than anything,” says Wetzel, who spent much of last week in San Francisco, scouting for capital and talent.

She knows all about perseverance, and plenty about business, too.

A graduate of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, she learned the ropes of Wall Street. She worked with direct placements that helped financed the leveraged buyouts of the 1980s, she got involved with strategic planning on a global sale, she became an investment advisor and she became a partner in an investment fund.

She was diagnosed with cancer — an incurable non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Wetzel set aside business books and began reading about nutrition, exercise, stress-reduction, personal support — the skills she found to be important in her personal battle.

“You’re taking control,” she says. “You’re doing something proactive.”

Three years after her diagnosis, she launched Anti-Cancer Club LLC to spread the gospel of self-reliance.

In its current iteration launched early this year, the company operates a Web site — — that’s a gateway into research, personal stories, inspirational notes, blogs and directories to resources.

The site is financed by e-commerce partnerships with businesses, many of them from Reno, that sell products and services for cancer victims and their families. Those range from personal-chef services to art classes and books such as “Anti-Cancer A new Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber, M.D.

And, despite its organization as a for-profit venture, the site accepts donations from folks who want to support its education programs and the “chemo goodie bags” it distributes through oncology offices.

Wetzel is quick to note, however, she’s never intended for Anti-Cancer Club to be anything but a for-profit venture. Nonprofits, she says, end up spending all their time raising money.

If Wetzel’s plans to raise some serious investor money and hire some serious managers gain traction, Anti-Cancer Club will be moving quickly past the point where it needs to ask for donations.

While she’s unwilling to talk in any detail yet, Wetzel says the company’s next move involves the creation of a Web-based product that provides information, connection and entertainment to people diagnosed with cancer.

The market? The American Cancer Society estimates that well over 1.6 million cases of cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States, and each of those diagnoses touches a network of friends and family.

The number of new cancer cases worldwide is expected to reach 21.4 million annually by 2030, says the cancer society.

Each of them, Wetzel says, represents a person who needs information, and a circle of friends who need advice on how to reach out and provide support.