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‘Trust your body, believe in hope, leave room for miracles’ founder of Coppafeel! breast cancer charity Kris Hallenga dies age 38

Words by Abi Scaife

Today, we are grieving alongside our friends at Coppafeel!, because their wonderful founder, Kris Hallenga, has died.

Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at age 23 after her GP ignored her concerns for over a year. By the time she was diagnosed, the cancer had spread to her spine and become terminal.

Kris lived with her cancer for 15 years, passing away Monday 6th May 2024 at age 38. In those 15 years, she saved so many lives by setting up Coppafeel!, a charity dedicated to ensuring breast cancer is diagnosed early, and accurately.

In an interview with the Guardian in 2021, Hallenga said she was “confused and baffled” when diagnosed, and it was these feelings that motivated her to set up Coppafeel!, alongside twin sister Maren.

"CoppaFeel! was born because I was never told to check myself and I didn't know I could get breast cancer at 23,” Kris is quoted as saying, on the Coppafeel! website. “So now we educate young people about why they should start checking from a younger age so that all breast cancer is diagnosed early."

The charity, and Kris, have done incredible work since 2009 - Coppafeel! has become a household name and a reminder in its own right of how important it is to be proactive about your health, and check yourself regularly.

Coppafeel! and Kris’ mission is revolutionary - not just because it tackles something that affects millions of women globally year on year, but because it was one of the first charities to give agency to women around a taboo topic. 

Touching one’s breasts went from shameful to lifesaving, to necessary, to vital in a matter of years. That was all down to Kris and her candour, commitment - and her passion.

Kris’ death is a huge loss - but it is important to remember her for the incredible difference she made in her lifetime, and the ripples that will affect people for years to come. 

In a statementCoppafeel! said: “Please remember the amazing life Kris led and the things she achieved, but above all else honour her memory by checking your chest…it could just save your life.”

Coppafeel! has set up a JustGiving fundraiser, in celebration of Kris Hallenga and all that she did, not just for their charity, but for the lives she changed, and saved. At the time of writing this, the fundraiser has raised more than £7,000 since her death.

"Trust your body, believe in hope, leave room for miracles." Kris Hallenga.

Check yourself today - here is a list of breast cancer symptoms, according to the NHS website. 

Learn more about Coppafeel! founder Kris, her incredible journey, and the priceless work she has done for breast cancer diagnosis, by visiting the Coppafeel! Website.

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.   

Coppafeel! This breast cancer charity focuses on promoting early detection of breast cancer by encouraging women under 30 to check their breasts. Learn more here.

Cancer Research UK. This charity provides information for anyone affected by any kind of cancer. Support them here.

Maggie’s. Offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and the people important to them. Find out more here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnerships for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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