Cancer launched my business

Seven cancer survivors confronted life-threatening diseases and turned their experiences into successful small business ideas.

David Luks, Honeydrop Beverages
gallery cancer survivors david luks 2
David Luks, 37: Cancer was a wakeup call to redefine meaning of "healthy."
Revenue: $3.5 million

David Luks, founder and CEO of Honeydrop Beverages, remembers the day -- April 20, 2006 -- when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

"It was completely out of the blue. I was recently married, active and perfectly healthy," said Luks.

A regular checkup had led to his diagnosis of early-stage testicular cancer. "I was lucky. It was caught early and the tumor was removed," he said.

Cancer was a wakeup call to redefine his "definition of healthy."

As a longtime Pepsico (PEP, Fortune 500) marketing executive, Luks knew the food business at a high level and started researching the benefits of organic and natural foods.

"I read that honey is a natural antioxidant, an unrefined sweetener, and that it's clinically better for your throat than over-the-counter medication," said Luks.

In 2009, using his personal savings and credit cards, Luks launched Honeydrop Beverages, a line of low-calorie teas and juices sweetened with unrefined honey.

"I told myself that you only live once," he said. "I wanted to experience what it was like being an entrepreneur."

Today, his New York-based company has seven employees. His drinks are sold in Whole Foods and other natural foods stores nationwide.

  @CNNMoney - Last updated October 02 2012 10:40 AM ET
Join the Conversation
9 hot businesses you can start now

In a lousy economy, startup ideas can be found in surprising places. We asked which opportunities are drawing the most interest from entrepreneurs and their customers.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.