04:07PM, Wednesday 15 January 2020
A young mum who strived to raise awareness of breast cancer while fighting her own battle with the disease has died.
Chantelle Scarvaci, 30, from Northumbria Road, was diagnosed with breast cancer when her 17-month-old daughter Serena was just eight weeks old.
Treatment she underwent included chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy, but in October, a year after diagnosis, the cancer was in her bones and she was told she only had months left to live.
Chantelle’s mum, Dianne, said doctors initially told Chantelle ‘we doubt it very much it would be cancer, because you’re too young’.
Dianne, 58, said: “She just wanted to raise as much awareness as she could for youngsters to be checking themselves, because it’s not an age thing, cancer has no boundaries, so she really wanted to raise awareness.”
Chantelle became a ‘boobette’ for the charity CoppaFeel – a woman under the age of 35 affected by breast cancer, who educates women on ‘the importance of getting to know your boobs’.
Dianne said: “Even in the last week of her life she was still talking to other people in the same situation as her, so even though she was very ill she was still supporting others with breast cancer.”
When doctors told Chantelle she only had days left to live, Chantelle fought for another eight days.
She died on Monday, January 6.
Dianne said: “She was very selfless, absolutely a heart of gold, and I know people say that but she’d been a carer, training to be a nurse, she was just so selfless.”
In June, Chantelle took part in the charity’s 26.1-mile night walk with her dad, Salvo, 58, family, and her best friend - raising almost £2,000.
Chantelle’s brother Mitch, 31, is going to take over Chantelle’s mantle for CoppaFeel in her name, to raise awareness of the disease, especially in young women, and to also raise funds.
Mitch and his wife Alex have been gifted the guardianship of Serena, as was Chantelle’s wish.
The couple, who were introduced by Chantelle, will raise Serena alongside their two sons, Max, 13, and seven-year-old Louie.
Mitch said: “It is bittersweet some days, because obviously you’ve got the pride of looking after a baby, but at the same time you’re almost looking at what is effectively my sister because she is the spitting image.”
He added: “And not just in looks either.”
Dianne said Chantelle ‘lived for Serena’, calling the tot her ‘destiny’ and her ‘flashlight’, which Dianne says she is for the whole family now.
Mitch said: “She keeps us all going.”
It is hoped a GoFundMe page titled Serena’s Fund – Chantelle Scarvaci, which was set up by Hayely Cohen, a close friend, will enable the family to fulfil some of Chantelle’s dreams for her daughter.
In a book, Chantelle wrote that she wanted Serena ‘to be a little dancer’ and have dance lessons, go on a holiday to Disneyland Paris and experience Lapland at Christmas.
Dianne and Mitch wanted to thank the district nurses and palliative care provided by Thames Hospice in the last week of Chantelle’s life.
Dianne said: “They were there constantly, and a special, special thank you to Bridget and Naomi, two of the most caring ladies I’ve ever come across. They were just absolutely amazing.”
At the time of going to press on Wednesday £2,265 of a £5,000 target had been raised.
Visit the GoFundMe here.
Anybody who knew and loved Chantelle are welcome to celebrate her life with her family. Dress is casual, but no trainers, and they would like everyone to wear some pink.
The service will be at The Chiltern Crematorium in Whielden Lane, Amersham on Friday, January 31 at 1pm.
Chantelle's family have requested that flowers are from the family only, if anyone else would like to make a donation they would really appreciate donations made to CoppaFeel.
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