The Beechboro resident has stage four metastatic breast cancer and is no longer able to work her dream job as a neonatal nurse.
Not knowing how long she has left to live, Ms Van Santen is doing all she can to support her beloved children and create precious memories with them. However, she needs help.
Ms Van Santen’s sister and sister-in-law created a GoFundMe crowd funding webpage to help raise money to support her dreams for her children.
Ms Van Santen said that for most people, a bucket list was something that had many adventurous things on it like bungy jumping or skydiving.
‘My bucket list is for me and my kids so they can enjoy their home environment and that we can make as many happy memories as possible while I can,’ she said.
The 37-year-old was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2005 while she was 15 weeks pregnant with her fifth child. Ms Van Santen said she was positive she was going to beat the cancer and gave it a year of her life.
‘Being pregnant with cancer was one of the scariest things; I wasn’t worried about myself ” all I cared about was my unborn baby and my four other kids,’ she said.
‘There was a three-week wait before the doctors told me what the plan was, which was having a mastectomy while pregnant then having chemo while pregnant too.’
Ms Van Santen had her fifth child Elijah five weeks prematurely due to the chemotherapy. He spent two and a half weeks in the neonatal unit.
Ms Van Santen said Elijah’s nurses were amazing and made her decide to become a neonatal nurse herself, only to be later told the cancer had spread and developed to stage four.
‘I stopped working when I found out I was stage four; I needed to have chemotherapy and it would be too difficult to work,’ she said.
‘So I started chemotherapy again, lost my hair again, had to tell my kids I had cancer again and that this time the cancer was different, that this time, eventually the medication would run out and the cancer would take over my body.’
Ms Van Santen said she was given a few months to a few years to live. ‘That’s not long enough, but what can I do, I can fight,’ she said.
‘I can hope the love I have given them is enough to last them a lifetime and that they can love themselves as much as I love them.’
To donate to Clare Van Santen’s benefit fund, go to www.gofundme.com/ cvansanten.