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When Molly Lindquist was struck with breast cancer five years ago, it was a terrifying experience. And it was agonizingly frustrating.

“You lose control of your body — my cells went rouge,” she said. “I wanted to bring some control into my story.”

So after successfully battling the disease through intensive surgery and chemotherapy, Lindquist felt driven to support cancer research and treatment to help others and hopefully prevent the illness from ever striking her two young daughters. She considered donating to different foundations and institutions, but came up dissatisfied with her options.

“I wanted this connection and stewardship with researchers,” she said. “I didn’t find the transparency or control to designate where the donation would go.”

Molly Lindquist, founder and CEO of Portland-based Consano. Lindquist wished there was a medicine-focused outlet for crowd-funding — a site like Kickstarter or the nonprofit Kiva, which provides small loans to borrowers who struggle to get support for their projects. She began investigating the grant-making process and funding for disease research.

In August 2012, the Portland mom, who has a background in business strategy and economics, founded Consano, which is Latin for “to heal.” The nonprofit and website act something like for doctors and donors, connecting patients and their families to healthcare researchers and providers.

Consano has raised $900,000 so far, helping support some 40 different research projects addressing dozens of diseases, including multiple forms of cancer, still births and miscarriages, diabetes and mental health issues.

The nonprofit pays its overhead costs through separate fundraising, so all of the money contributed to research and treatment goes directly to those efforts (less the processing fee charged by PayPal).

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