A young cancer victim dubbed the “princess of the Beatson” beat the disease twice but died just a few weeks before her 21st birthday…
And she left a heartbreaking note to her parents saying: “I’m not scared of dying, but I’m scared of leaving you.”
Biological Sciences student Francesca Mancini was diagnosed last year with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma after doctors found a grapefruit-sized tumour in her chest.
Brave Francesca, from Bishopbriggs, successfully fought off the disease, which went into remission. It then came back again but she was able to fight it off once more.
But, sadly, it returned a third time and spread to her lungs and liver. She died on Saturday 3 September.
During her struggle, fundraiser Francesa raised £14,000 for the Beatson Clinic in Glasgow, a centre dedicated to cancer care, where staff dubbed her the “princess of the Beatson”.
Francesca told her parents May and Osvaldo in a heartbreaking letter written just days before her death: “I am scared of leaving you. But I’ll always be around you. I’ll always be in your hearts.”
May, 49, yesterday (FRI) paid tribute to selfless Francesca, whose only wish was to see her family happy.
May said: “She wanted us to buy her sister a puppy and take her to Disneyland to see the Little Mermaid,” she smiled.
“Francesca always thought of other people first. She was so humble, and so thoughtful. That’s why everyone loved her.”
Campaigner Francesca worked tirelessly to raise awareness for young people with cancer.
She said in an interview last year: “Teenagers get cancer too – teenagers who should be studying and growing up and travelling and getting on with their lives.
“There are lots of us, and I hope by sharing my story I can encourage them and get help for them.”
Despite her poor health, she completed the 6.3 mile Off the Beatson Track walk on 27 August.
May said: “She walked over the finish line with her hands in the air.
“She was amazing.”
She was diagnosed with stage four Non Hodgkins Lymphoma last year.
Doctors first thought that the Edinburgh University student had rheumatoid arthritis, but found tumours in her lung, pancreas, abdominal lymph nodes and around her heart.
After having chemotherapy and surgery Francesca was in remission, but by Christmas 2015, the cancer had returned.
This time the cancer was pressing on her liver.
Francesca spent three weeks in isolation at the cancer clinic as she underwent radiotherapy and stem cell treatment.
Fifty days later she was in remission again.
But the cancer came back and Francesca sadly didn’t survive her third battle with the disease.
Brave Francesca maintained a positive attitude throughout her fight with cancer.
May said: “She told us she didn’t want to be buried, she wanted to be cremated and for all of her friends to wear bright colours – no black – at her funeral.
“Since she died, so many people have been in touch to say she had such an effect on them – we are amazed by how loved she was and we will forever be proud and grateful for that.”
Francesca’s funeral will take place tomorrow at Lambhill Crematorium, Glasgow.