Sydney writer Natalie Fornasier dies after battle with melanoma

Read influencer’s lessons for life in farewell post from palliative care as she dies age 28 after brutal battle with a terminal illness: ‘Time moves like a river’

  • Natalie Fornasier passed away on January 14
  • She was diagnosed with melanoma at age of 20 
  • She rose awareness about dangers of skin cancer 

Popular Australian writer Natalie Fornasier has died at the age of 28 after battling melanoma

Popular Australian writer Natalie Fornasier has died at the age of 28 after battling melanoma – shortly after sharing a reminder not to let life pass you by. 

Ms Fornasier, from Sydney, passed away on January 14. She was diagnosed with stage III metastatic melanoma at the age of 20 and dedicated much of her life to raising awareness of the dangers of skin cancer.

Her terminal diagnosis came about after she noticed a mole on her toe had changed shape.

In December she told her 35,000 Instagram followers that her cancer had become terminal – sharing a heartbreaking update from palliative care.

‘The last four months have been brutal. At the end of July, I received the news that my cancer was now terminal and had months left to live,’ she wrote.

‘I’ve cried myself hoarse about the fear of death. I’ve screamed for the children I would never have, growing old, my friends, the life I was supposed to live.

A post shared by Natalie Fornasier (@nataliefornasier)

Ms Fornasier was able to walk down the aisle with her husband Alexander

The 28-year-old provided updates to her 35,000 followers about her cancer battle

‘At 28 years old… everything about it feels wrong. 

‘The conversations I’ve had to have, the plans I’ve had to make, the places my thoughts have gone and are still going – none of it is natural. It’s painful.

‘I’ve fallen into oblivion crying for (husband) Alexander, the heartbreak, and the love I would be leaving – for the life we were supposed to have. I’ve cried for my family.

‘My one goal in life was to love. I’ve experienced a love that is all consuming – something so deeply precious and powerful and soul changing that I know that even though I’m leaving this earth, that energy and love will never die.’

Her final Instagram post from December 21 feature an image of bouquet of flowers she had been given in hospital – and a reminder that time is precious.

‘It’s one minute at a time for me right now – and I’m so thankful that, that is still a possibility.

‘If my time here has taught me anything – it’s that time moves like a river,’ she said.

‘You’re unable to see the beginning or the end but you can feel it – so you better make the most of it.’

The writer had dedicated her life to raising awareness about the dangers of skin cancer

Ms Fornasier married her partner Alex while battling her illness

Melanoma symptoms 

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which usually occurs on the parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. 

Often melanoma has no symptoms, however, the first sign is generally a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot. 

These changes can include: 

  • colour – a mole may change in colour or have different colour shades or become blotchy 
  • size – a mole may appear to get bigger 
  • shape – a mole may have in irregular border or may increase in height 
  • elevation – the mole may develop a raised area 
  • itching or bleeding

Source: Cancer Council

It came during Ms Fornasier’s fourth week in palliative care and she had more than three weeks to go.

‘It’s absurd it’s been that long – time is so fluid, it feels like none has gone by but the calendar says otherwise,’ she wrote at the time. 

Ms Fornasier detailed the simple things about her home she missed before detailing the severe toll her melanoma had taken on her body.

‘I can no longer walk without aids, my legs are filled with fluid, my whole body aches 24/7 and the tumour burden is intense,’ she wrote.

‘My pain is increasing slowly, day by day I can feel my body slow just that little bit more which is such a bizarre thing to witness – especially when you can physically feel it too. 

‘However these yellow tinged walls with creaky old doors is the best place for me to be – it’s safe (and fully stocked with all the meds I need!). 

‘People often misunderstand palliative care and what it means – but basically the weight of medical care is lifted off Alexander’s shoulders and looked after by nurses and doctors who want nothing but you to be pain free.’

The 28-year-old had candidly opened up to her followers about her cancer battle

The writer announced to her followers in December her cancer had become terminal

Loved ones set up a GoFundMe for Ms Fornasier’s family and husband before her death.

It has raised more than $110,000. 

Ms Fornasier was just 20-years-old when she woke up one morning to find her legs covered in bruises during a holiday in Greece.

She initially thought she’d been sleep walking until she realised the mole on her toe, in which she had since birth, had changed shape.

It wasn’t until two weeks after returning home that she was told she had advanced melanoma.

She had her toe amputated and the lymph nodes in her groin removed.

Ms Fornasier – who’s the ambassador for a social media campaign called #CallTimeonMelanoma – had urged young women to get their skin checked and to be more cautious with sunbaking. 

Ms Fornasier said she was grateful to have experienced love with her husband Alexander

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