A raconteur, a skincare connoisseur and fun loving soul, Natalie Fornaiser is either a name you have heard before or one you should definitely remember. With a bubbly personality so bright she reasons wearing neutral tones as an equalizer, Natalie’s energy can truly bring a smile to anyone’s face. Despite being the young age of 27, Natalie has been continuously battling cancer for the past 7 years. Her story and unwaivable commitment to stay positive and strong is something we not only admire but made us realise that each and everyone of us has the ability to realise our strength.

We were recently fortunate enough to interview Natalie to learn and talk about the crazy roller coaster that has thus far been her life. We discussed the importance of real friends, her fairy-tale Italian love story and what she does to stay true to herself.

For the people that may not have heard your story before, are you able to share your journey with us?

I was diagnosed with a special type of melanoma that isn’t caused by the sun when I was 20 years old. Despite doing everything right, wearing sunscreen, being sun safe and getting spots checked regularly, I developed a small mole on my toe that was later discovered to be cancer. Within quick succession I went from a GP’s office to a dermatologist’s office and then eventually an oncologists office. In just 3 days of the mole's discovery my life had been turned completely upside down and as there was no treatment available at the time, I eventually had to have my toe amputated. After the operation, the test results found that all the cancer had been collected and I was free to go my merry way. Whilst my first experience with cancer had been extremely scary, I looked forward to moving on with the rest of my life.

 Unfortunately, after 4 years they found a tiny 1mm wide melanoma in my lungs in a routine check up. It was later explained as a dormant type of cancer that had continued to fly around my body until it felt like attaching onto something, making it impossible to know where it would have ended up. It is now in a really funky part of my abdomen. From 2018 onwards I have had my successes and I have had my losses but guess what? I’m still here which is amazing! I refuse to give up! I am adamant they will find a cure or something to help.

My situation is strange as I feel and look completely normal and don’t feel pain like those that have cancer with an obvious type of systemic response. At the time of my first diagnosis, I kept it all very quiet and personal but having been diagnosed a second time I knew I could use my story as an example to really highlight the importance of sun safety habits.

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Natalie wears our Daisy Pearl Earrings and Aquarius Zodiac Necklace.

For the people that may not have heard your story before, are you able to share your journey with us?

I was diagnosed with a special type of melanoma that isn’t caused by the sun when I was 20 years old. Despite doing everything right, wearing sunscreen, being sun safe and getting spots checked regularly, I developed a small mole on my toe that was later discovered to be cancer. Within quick succession I went from a GP’s office to a dermatologist’s office and then eventually an oncologists office. In just 3 days of the mole's discovery my life had been turned completely upside down and as there was no treatment available at the time, I eventually had to have my toe amputated. After the operation, the test results found that all the cancer had been collected and I was free to go my merry way. Whilst my first experience with cancer had been extremely scary, I looked forward to moving on with the rest of my life.

 Unfortunately, after 4 years they found a tiny 1mm wide melanoma in my lungs in a routine check up. It was later explained as a dormant type of cancer that had continued to fly around my body until it felt like attaching onto something, making it impossible to know where it would have ended up. It is now in a really funky part of my abdomen. From 2018 onwards I have had my successes and I have had my losses but guess what? I’m still here which is amazing! I refuse to give up! I am adamant they will find a cure or something to help.

My situation is strange as I feel and look completely normal and don’t feel pain like those that have cancer with an obvious type of systemic response. At the time of my first diagnosis, I kept it all very quiet and personal but having been diagnosed a second time I knew I could use my story as an example to really highlight the importance of sun safety habits.

How has your perception of self changed throughout your experience and in what ways have you noticed these shifts?

I genuinely amaze myself alot. I didn’t know how strong I really was until last year when I was having half responses to medicine. It has taken time but not only have I realised that I am made of titanium, I am made of very thick titanium that can withstand a lot. In the beginning, it was really difficult to process my emotions and I felt incredibly lost. It almost feels like a prank or an outer body experience when you are told your diagnosis. I was unsure how to express all the emotions I was experiencing and I did not know how to accept my fate. But I now know that in order to overcome the unchangeable, I need to lean into every single feeling and express all of them. I have felt immense grief, anger and ultimately a lot of sadness and fear through my experiences and prior to realising my strength I would store and bottle up all these emotions. But eventually exploding and leaving a lot of undealt with emotional debris everywhere isn’t good for anyone either.

What’s really important and something that has helped me a lot, is when people approach me about how they too can stay positive and comprehend their emotions when diagnosed with cancer. I can now tell them to lean into their feelings and accept their fate. We always tend to notice and admire the people around us that have proven their strength but sometimes you really have to sit with yourself and realise that you too are a fighting spirit. We have to commend ourselves because being human is hard let alone with you through an illness as well!


As someone that I believe to be a positive role model for the young woman in today’s society, what do you think is the greatest gift we can give each other as women?

Supporting and listening from one another is a must. And more importantly from all different types of women. As a society we tend to put particular women up on a pedestal and it often ends up being the same kind of women. Whilst this is not a bad thing, we need to acknowledge and hear the stories and voices of all the different types of women out there. We need to remember to uplift one another and acknowledge our own privilege when doing so. We are all super badass women and we need to support each other to achieve amazing things!


What are simple everyday moments that just bring you joy and make you feel comfortable in your own skin?


Skincare! I have to do my morning and night skincare ritual! My brain is always switched on and constantly thinking about what ifs but no matter the situation I know I have these pockets of moments to re-centre myself through skincare. Reading and expressing myself through art also helps to turn my brain off and it's really amazing! Sometimes I just really need that relief.

A full on Netflix binge is always amazing, I love just being about to sit in front of the projector and just get transported somewhere else. Currently, I am rewatching Suits and Gilmore Girls and have just jumped into Outlander Season 5! I’ve also been obsessed with the Netflix show; Formula 1: Drive to Survive! Something I never thought I’d love but I'm more obsessed with F1 now than my brother! My boyfriend is also amazing at cooking so I love eating anything he makes! Eating a good meal always brings me joy!


Speaking of family and friends, you must have an incredible support system! How have your experiences evolved and redefined the meaning of love and friendship for you?


It has taken me 27 years to grasp and understand the concept of genuine friendship and what it means to have good intentions. When you're young you feel like the more friends you have the better but how many of those people did you actually have a personal connection to? No one really fosters the importance of establishing a true connection with the people you meet but if you find one that is real and reliable, that is gold.

Throughout my 7 years of cancer I have definitely had people come and go in my life because they simply couldn’t be there for me. This may sound self centred but when it comes to life and death you just can’t play games. I’ve had many conversations with friends where you can really tell who is actually important to keep around. Every person that means the world to me has acknowledged that I can no longer be the friend I used to be anymore but instead are willing to take the weight of the friendship a little more. This is amazing because you learn that they actually value you and will definitely stick by you when life gets crazy.

In the cancer community we often talk about friendships and how we often feel like outcasts because no one can understand us. We refer to these people as cancer muggles because it can be hard for people to grasp what it's like to have cancer. But there are also people we refer to as grief tourists because they only pop up or maybe send a message when they want. These people are more often than not just benefiting and self-serving themselves instead of actually genuinely supporting you. It takes work to feel comfortable enough to acknowledge that sometimes people just won’t be present and it’s not your responsibility to keep chasing them. If people really want to be part of your journey they’ll show up and show their good intentions.

Natalie wears our Sancia Chunky Bracelet

Natalie wears our Sancia Chunky Bracelet

Natalie wears our Aquarius Zodiac Necklace.

Holding onto a legitimate connection with someone can really make a hugely positive difference to one's life. I heard on the grapevine that you met the love of your life on a trip to Italy! Do share more!

It all started with my love of Italy! It is the first country I went to where I just felt really at home. I love art, history and food and even though I’m Italian, when I had the opportunity to go on exchange it was a no brainer to go to Italy. If someone said I had the chance to go anywhere in the world tomorrow my answer will always be Italy. There is just so much beauty! When you go to Florence you realise that's where the renaissance was built, when you go to Rome you know it's the place that was considered the centre of the world for hundreds of years and when you go to Venice you know that's where the Byzantine era was happening. It just feels like the most historical place.

Every time I go I visit the same museums and I just cry when I look at the beautiful art. I have all that love for Italy already and then on top of that it’s where I met the love of my life! We literally had our dates just walking on the streets of Venice and it was just incredible to fall in love in the city I held so dear to my heart. Alexander, my partner, who is originally from Germany, now lives in Sydney and we always talk about when we’ll go back to this hauntingly beautiful city that holds so much history.


And to conclude, what is one word or phrase that just simply represents you?


Laugh! Nothing is more joyous than having a giggle. Laughing is so pure, special and just golden! It helps you produce so many endorphins, it’s just so good for you! Like Mr Big said ‘‘After a while, you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh’’. It’s the simple things in life that matter.

And to conclude, what is one word or phrase that just simply represents you?

Laugh! Nothing is more joyous than having a giggle. Laughing is so pure, special and just golden! It helps you produce so many endorphins, it’s just so good for you! Like Mr Big said ‘‘After a while, you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh’’. It’s the simple things in life that matter.

And to conclude, what is one word or phrase that just simply represents you?

Laugh! Nothing is more joyous than having a giggle. Laughing is so pure, special and just golden! It helps you produce so many endorphins, it’s just so good for you! Like Mr Big said ‘‘After a while, you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh’’. It’s the simple things in life that matter.



It was an absolute pleasure to speak with Natalie and we are grateful to be able to share her many gems of wisdom. Despite all that life has thrown at her, Natalie has proven she is a tough and resilient soul that is able to overcome anything she puts her mind to. We look forward to bringing you more stories of inspirational women on our blog as we continue to discover what it means to live life as the best version of yourself.

You can follow Natalie on Instagram @nataliefornaiser.

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ritten by Nicole Wong