You’ve graduated University, great! What do you do? Well most go find a job, or continue their studies. Some will even explore the world and make the most of being young. Ah – to be young, free, and the thought of having breast cancer never crossing your mind.
When you’re 23 you don’t think it’s possible but that is exactly what happened to Kris Hallenga in 2009. She was diagnosed with stage-4 Breast Cancer and was hit by a nuclear-boob-sized bomb – right when she thought life was only just getting started. The thing with stage-4 cancer is that it is the most advanced type of cancer and the kind that doesn’t go away.
As you can imagine, being a young 23-year-old and having to deal with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and losing her hair, Kris got pretty mad. I mean Breast Cancer is only meant to happen to women in their mid-40’s, and how on earth could she overlook a lump growing on this underside of her boob!?
But here’s the thing that makes Kris my Woman Crush: it took her only one month to think; ‘fuck it, I’m going to do something about this’. So, one month into chemo and with a life expectancy of two years, Kris started the well-known charity: CoppaFeel!
Kris has done something amazing; by not only surpassing her two-year life expectancy but also saving many other young lives in the process. She achieved this by making young people aware that Breast Cancer can affect anyone. She has taught millions of girls and boys to learn how to ‘cop-a-feel’, and becom aware of the UK’s struggle with cancer.
CoppaFeel! has many supporters, with Fearne Cotton as their ambassador and the likes of Cosmopolitan, Very, ASOS, and Ann Summers all raising awareness for this campaign. Whilst campaigning Kris has made herself known by winning a Pride of Britain Award, receiving a Downing Street reception and recently picking up the title of Outstanding Campaigner of the year at the 60th Woman of the Year awards.
She is an outstanding woman and without a doubt, someone to follow. Her campaign has got many schools, universities, and students across the UK checking for signs of breast cancer and catching it early on; saving them from what Kris is still going through now. She has achieved all this despite undergoing chemotherapy for her second diagnosis of breast cancer. When she isn’t in hospital, Kris is out sharing her message. That is some type of dedication and bravery that I completely admire.
With it being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I couldn’t find a more apt opportunity to give a shout out to Kris who is not only inspirational for doing something amazing when things went tits-up (sorry, I had to add the pun), but for also saving so many lives in the process, making herself into the kind of legacy that many 23-year-olds can barely dream of.
Image courtesy of Zoe Charman