Emma Fantasia starts every single day with the aim of living her best, epic life. Described as a force of nature, she is committed to embracing everything life has to give, even in the face of the most challenging of situations. This is her story.
In 2018, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Doctors found a 5cm tumour, which they jumped on almost immediately. I started six weeks of daily radiation therapy with a side of weekly chemotherapy. The doctors decided to top it off with a dollop of brachytherapy (a form of radiation therapy where the radiation source is placed inside the body, in or near the tumour, it’s designed to boom-pow-kapow out of existence).
Throughout treatment, I made a promise to myself to stay positive and committed to living my best, epic life every single day. I responded incredibly well to treatment, kept my hair and lost the tumour. It was a win win!
However, the ‘original C’ decided to try its luck in my lungs and in April 2020, doctors discovered two tumours in my chest. I started chemotherapy a week before my 49th birthday – eight rounds, every three weeks – until October, followed by IV antibody treatment every three weeks. Scans on the 9 March 2021 showed that again, the tumours had been irradicated. I was thrilled, and even better, had gained a husband, sharing with the world that my partner James and I had eloped in a secret ceremony the previous October (16th to be exact).
Throughout my treatment, I was blown away by the incredible support I received from the South Australian community, who not only stood by my side throughout treatment, but also helped me have the elopement of my dreams to the man I loved.
But I know that not everyone is that lucky, and that support takes many shapes and forms. It was that knowledge, and my commitment to ensuring that every single person is able to live the best life they can, that drove me to start fundraising for Cancer Council SA.
In May this year, I hosted my first fundraiser, an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea at the Norwood Football Club, where my husband James is the CEO. My goal was to raise $5,000 (five is one of my angel numbers). I raised $5,505 and was blown away by the support I received.
On 28 July 2021, one day after Adelaide had emerged from a Covid lockdown, I once again faced “the big C” after experiencing an ‘episode’ at work. Whisked off to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in an ambulance, I presented with pitch perfect vitals before quickly declining and suffering a seizure. Scans were taken and two brain tumours were found. By the following morning, seven others had been identified, bringing the grand total to nine.
I’m now on a stellar cast of drugs, including anti-seizure drugs to stop swelling on the brain, and in early August, embarked on five days of full brain radiation to reduce the size of my tumours.
For me, the last three years of my cancer journey have been the absolute pinnacle of my life. The connections I’ve made through business, social media, and the community here in South Australia have made my Adelaide home a slice of heaven on Earth.
I now want to pay that forward in the best way I know how – by sharing my story and showing everyone how they can live their best epic life, every single day.
In August, I registered to host my second Cancer Council SA fundraiser, hosting a Daffodil Day celebration at the Norwood Football Club. Bathing the club in a sea of yellow, my goal was to raise $7,000 (7 is another one of my angel numbers). I’m proud to say that we raised $7,077.
This October, I’m now hosting my third Cancer Council Fundraiser, a Cancer Council Girls’ Night In. My goal is $8,000, which is channelling my angel number 8, which will take my fundraising total to more than $20,000 over the past three months.
It’s an ambitious goal, but one that I know will make a huge difference to the lives of those South Australians who need it most. By funding vital research, prevention and support services, I want to ensure that every South Australian impacted by cancer has a community of support around them, just like I did.
My message to everyone, is no matter what life throws your way, is take it, run with it, and live every day.
Embrace who you are, strive for what you want, and surround yourself with the people who will make doing those things the easiest and most enjoyable walk in the park you’ve ever had. Living your best epic life is that easy.
You can support Emma and help her reach her $20,000 goal by making a donation to her Girls’ Night In fundraiser here: https://www.doitforcancer.com.au/fundraisers/emmafantasia/emma—s-girls-night-in–8tartchallenge