Yali’s Carry On®

Home / Yali’s Carry On®

Yali’s Carry On®


Yali Derman, a young handbag designer, registered nurse, and thriving cancer survivor created Yali’s Carry On® as a limited-edition tote bag to symbolize the challenges and triumphs of her cancer experience.


Available in khaki canvas or black microfiber, the tote’s unique design incorporates 18 colors and is silk screened with matching leather handles and detail. In addition, it is fully-lined featuring inside pockets and a full-length top zipper to keep personal items securely organized.


All proceeds from the sale of these tote bags benefit KIDSS for Kids, an affiliated organization supporting the Department of Family Services at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


The power of the peacock tote bag can empower anyone to Carry On in the face of their own challenges!


The Symbolism

Every handbag in Yali’s Carry On®­­ collection embodies how “I choose to lead my life: with vibrant elegance, vast purpose, and a meaningful voice for the cancer experience”, says the designer.


The tote bag is adorned by a peacock, a dazzling bird that replaces its feathers annually, a bird that is a symbol of renewal and new beginnings, and whose feathers are said to be protective and lucky.


Ms. Derman continues by adding, “My peacock’s tail is comprised of paisley patterns that represent the paisley-laden bandanas that cancer patients wear during their treatment. The 18 brilliant colors serve as a metaphor for the vibrancy of life, and the hearts crowning the peacock’s head emphasize the importance of love and support from family and friends.”


Each distinct paisley pattern illustrates an individual’s unique story, and the aggregate beauty is indicative of the collective bond among survivors, family, and community that energizes the triumph over adversity. The expansiveness of the tail expresses how every survivor’s story is wide and intricate; this story must be embraced just as the tail embraces this bag. The peacock’s tail, however, does not fully encircle the bag, reminding us that every survivor’s story, including her own, is still ongoing.

The Whole Story

Teenager Yali Derman didn’t let cancer get in the way of her dream to be a designer of fashionable handbag accessories. She also didn’t want to create just any handbag, she wanted a design a Kate Spade handbag.


The tote bag is adorned by a peacock, a dazzling bird that replaces its feathers annually, a bird that is a symbol of renewal and new beginnings, and whose feathers are said to be protective and lucky.


This determined Highland Park teenager, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5 years old, and again at 9, was on a mission. In 2007, Yali teamed up with Kate Spade to create the Yali Bag. Her very own stylish black handbag was born and then sold out within hours of hitting store shelves.


Yali has a new mission now and is creating the Yali’s Carry On® Collection. The bags and designs will be functional, yet each will carry a deeper meaning as well. Yali’s Carry On® signifies the grace and style with which cancer survivors must “carry on” in spite of their medical “baggage”.


Yali is truly one of our KIDSS for Kids kids. A former patient at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Yali relied on the art and music therapy programs funded by KIDSS to get through some difficult periods. Dedicated professionals inspired and mentored her.


Now, it is Yali who inspires us. She has pledged to use her creative spirit to help other young patients at Lurie Children’s. KIDSS for Kids is pleased to announce a partnership with Yali’s Carry On® Collection. All proceeds from her new line of handbags and accessories will go directly to KIDSS for Kids and the Family Services Programs at Lurie Children’s that inspired her as a child.

Yali Bag with Nursing Staff June 2009

Her 2009 Summer Tote Bag, (shown here along with some of Yali’s nurses) has a clever mix of function and symbolism. The bird represents freedom and beauty, and it’s colors show the vibrancy of life. The wings of the bird, created by the KIDSS for Kids handprints, remind us of our unique abilities to overcome challenges.