The Shine On Foundation was started in the fall of 2013 to honour and in some small way gift forward the extreme generosity that friends, family, community members and anonymous donors showed Chantelle Desmarais and her family during their battle against Chantelle’s cancer. Chantelle touched people throughout her life with her truly amazing shine and unmatched ability to love. To know Chantelle was to love her and be loved by her. She was an extremely proud mom of three young children, Ava (9), Sophia (7) and Lincoln (4) and a soulmate to her husband Blair. Chantelle’s shine, while evident throughout her life, became truly inspirational during her battle against cancer when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer in September of 2012. Chantelle’s love of life, grace, and ability to smile and laugh was contagious, and this did not change during the mind boggling number of chemotherapy treatments she underwent throughout her battle. Despite this resolve and after the five initial courses of chemotherapy at the Allen Blair Cancer Centre in Regina, the cancer had spread, and Chantelle was told on January 7th, 2013 that she was not going to live.
Given the rarity and aggressiveness of the initial diagnosis the family had already looked into other treatment options and as such began additional treatments at the world renowned MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston Texas later that month. However, the travel and treatment costs to explore this and several other courses of action over the next several months was staggering. As a result, fundraising efforts were undertaken by Chantelle’s close group of friends which resulted in an overwhelming level of support which eased any financial pressures associated with these other treatment costs. During this time, several generous individuals also stepped forward and funded two separate trips for Chantelle’s young family – first to Disneyland followed by a trip to the Grand Canyon. Throughout the first half and early summer of 2013, several different chemotherapy and treatment courses were explored and undertaken. In spite of undergoing aggressive, sometimes painful, and at all times draining treatment options, Chantelle continued to shine with a grace that inspired others to love life and those close to them more openly and freely.
Despite aggressive treatment, in excess of twenty rounds of chemotherapy and Chantelle’s incredible will to live and desire to watch her children grow up, the aggressive cancer which Chantelle had been battling took her life on September 27th, 2013, a mere 1 year and 10 days after the initial diagnosis. Chantelle’s shine and ability to love and inspire however was not beaten by cancer. From the initial diagnosis to the time that she passed away, she felt blessed by the thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity of those near and far who felt compelled to try and help her and her family. Although this generosity did not save Chantelle’s life it was her hope that perhaps this generosity could save or at the very least positively impact another mom’s life who was dealing with a similar set of circumstances. This is the goal of the Shine On Foundation.