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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Meet the women urging you to check yourself

Kris was told she had incurable breast cancer at 23

Life in your twenties consists of partying, seeing the world, spending time with friends and doing whatever you want, whenever you want. Breast cancer, though? It’s not exactly at the forefront of an average 20-something’s mind. Sadly, this was quickly the reality for Kris Hallenga, the co-founder of CoppaFeel!, who found a lump while living abroad in Asia at just 22. After visiting her doctor, a series of tests and three appointments later, Kris, now 23, was told the devastating news that she had incurable breast cancer.  

Kris Hallenga: CoppaFeel! Co founder

Like many of us, Kris didn’t realise breast cancer could affect someone at such a young age. The earlier breast cancer is caught, the more treatable it can be, so, desperate to share her story and educate others, Kris made it her mission to encourage and empower young people to check themselves regularly. 

CoppaFeel! was born. And Kris didn’t stop there…

CoppaFeel! is the UK’s only breast cancer awareness charity directed towards younger people. It provides educational resources, programmes and activities, including a series of campaigns such as their latest, ‘Know Yourself’ in 2021.  

Kris has also starred in her own BBC documentary, ‘Dying to Live’ and continues to organise the charity’s one day annual event in London called ‘Festifeel’.  

Kris will always live with breast cancer but, with the help of CoppaFeel!, she has managed to change the way we understand it and help many others notice their own symptoms early.  

Frankie found a lump after her weight loss

‘I lost quite a lot of weight years ago- we all know that it goes off your boobs when you don’t want it to! Shortly after, I noticed a large lump on my breast that wasn’t there before. Panic set in, so I called the GP and they got me in straight away!  

I had to wait a week or two for a scan and they informed me straight away that it was NOT cancer, but a lump which had probably always been there but was harder to notice before I lost weight. Since then, I have been very good at noticing any lumps or bumps!’

Please check ladies and gents- but remember to not always jump straight to the worst-case scenario. 

Karen survived an aggressive stage 3 cancer

‘4 years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and went for my results 3 weeks later where I was sadly told that it’d changed to grade 3 aggressive cancer.  My oncologist told me I would die if he couldn’t operate within two days. So, I had another lumpectomy, and the doctor took 22cm away altogether. Afterwards, I had 6 months of chemo and 5 weeks of radiotherapy- I’ve never been so afraid in all my life.’

‘It’s still tough sometimes because I have ongoing issues like chronic nerve pain and lymphoedema in my left arm, but I am so grateful to be alive today. Everyone please check, check, check!’

Emma checks herself more often

‘A couple of years ago I found a lump on my breast and was immediately terrified! I contacted my doctor, and they weren’t too concerned but sent me for a scan anyway. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing serious, but it scared the hell out of me and was a big reminder to check myself more often.’ 

Ann knows breast cancer doesn’t care how old you are 

‘I come from a small village where a 23-year-old girl had a really tough fight with breast cancer- if you’re young, don’t think it won’t happen to you. It’s important to know that you know your body more than anyone. If the young woman didn’t push things further with the doctors, she may not be still here now. Please check yourself and get to know what feels right for you.’ 

Kris Hallenga: CoppaFeel! Co founder

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month we’re supporting CoppaFeel! in their mission to get everyone regularly checking their boobs, pecs and chests to find what their normal feels like.  

If you want to find out more about CoppaFeel! or help with their fundraising efforts, visit their website here. Or, visit out webpage to see how you can get stuck in.  

Read more about how we’re supporting CoppaFeel! on our blog below 

Ruby Choc and Check: Thinking Pink for CoppaFeel! this October

Long Read

Ruby Choc and Check: Thinking Pink for CoppaFeel! this October

2021-10-04 08:31:33By Amelia Dunn

Join us in our exante fundraising campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month by testing out our NEW Ruby Choc shake where we’ll be donating 50p per sachet directly to CoppaFeel!. 


Don’t forget, we’d love you to share your own stories, photos and opinions of our NEW shake this Breast Cancer Awareness Month using our hashtag #exanteRubyBoobies  

Amelia Dunn

Amelia Dunn

Writer and expert

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