Cindy Crawford is no stranger to the heartbreak and struggle caused by cancer.
“My brother died of leukemia,” the supermodel tells PEOPLE. “So when one of my closest friends – makeup artist and cancer survivor Sonia Kashuk – asked me to be a part of the April 15 Beauty with Benefits event on QVC, I wanted to honor what she’s been through.”
By urging people to shop for a cause, Crawford, 49, says that she gets to support her friend – who underwent a double mastectomy in 2006 – and raise money to help those who have been diagnosed with cancer continue to find the same “self-satisfaction” that Crawford has found through her career.
To do that, the two-hour Beauty with Benefits event is donating 80 percent of the purchase price of the donated merchandise to the Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation‘s Cancer and Careers organization.
The organization “helps people with everything – from how to tell their boss to what rights they have,” explains Crawford. “To be able to work and maintain that sense of normalcy while going through treatment can help people handle the stuff that’s out of their control.”
“I took my daughter to the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, where my brother was treated,” she says. “I host a reunion for survivors and their family – and she helped me hand out presents. For both of our kids, that s how we address philanthropy.”
For more of our interview with Cindy Crawford, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
• Reporting by JULIE JORDAN