“You have cancer”. Words that no one wants to hear, ever. Kristin Hallenga was diagnosed with breast cancer aged just 23.  Her story is moving, powerful and one that – luckily for Kris – has a happy ending. A diagnosis of stage four cancer (the most advanced type) at age 23 and everything that entails – radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hospitals and hair loss – would be enough to knock the fight out of most people. But not Kris. Oh no, she beat cancer – and went on to set up her own breast cancer charity: CoppaFeel!

Coppafeel Kris

Its premise? “We’re here to ensure you check your boobs regularly, throughout your lifetime. Simple as that.” CoppaFeel!’s aim is to put an end to the misdiagnosis and late detection of breast cancer by making sure people check their breasts regularly, and are aware of the signs and symptoms. The charity doesn’t receive any funding from the government, relying solely on donations and fundraising through regular sponsored events. So yes, Kris Hallenga is quite probably the most inspiring woman we’ve ever featured on here. We found out what makes her tick – and whether she can run in heels…

Motivation for me is all about…

 
Doing something that matters. If I wasn’t doing something that I knew made a big difference, I would find it very hard to motivate myself, I may even struggle to get my ass out of bed each day. I am also very motivated by deadlines, I am a last minute.com kinda girl so without the stress of a deadline I get very little done (this article is case in point)

coppafeel charity

Success means…

 
The world and their dog checking their boobs to ensure everyone stands the best chance of surviving breast cancer. Ideally, this disease wouldn’t even exist.

I couldn’t have got there without…

 
My twin sister Maren. She is the bread to my butter, the carrot to my hoummus. From day one of me having cancer she has been a bit a legend, staying strong, making me food, sticking the kettle on on the particularly rainier days. When we first met, in the womb, I knew she was going to be my best mate for life, and without her I wouldn’t have achieved half the things I have. Before cancer our lives were going in very different directions and we were living very far apart, me in Beijing, she in Cornwall, and now we get to work together and talk every day! I am very lucky I get to work with my best friend and try to make the world a slightly better place with her.

coppafeel founder

I always start my day with…

 
A cat’s bum in my face. My cat, and flatmate, Wilhelm stop at nothing to get me up so I feed him. That is then followed by a green tea, checking my emails and a juice involving at least nine carrots.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

 
I read through emails we’ve received from people who have got so much out of CoppaFeel! either through checking their boobs and finding cancer early, or someone who has volunteered for us or is a Boobette and loves the friends they have made from being an ambassador for us. I often think of my friends who have died of breast cancer and that they wouldn’t want me moping around feeling sorry for myself, they’d want me to keep going, to keep fighting for a future where none dies of breast cancer. So I do.

coppafeel boobettes

When I am feeling unwell or demotivated I find being at Boob HQ perks me up a lot. I LOVE walking into the office and seeing our girls beavering away, getting excited about their projects or a new exercise class we should all go to together. It’s a fun and hard-working environment that can’t NOT motivate and inspire you. BUT if that fails then a trip to Cornwall and a stroll on the beach with my sister’s dog Rambo always sorts me out.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

 
An inspiring space. I am surrounded by kick ass, creative, determined women so what I see is a future full of girl bosses everywhere. At least, that’s what I want to see.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

 
Having a meeting about a meeting about a meeting. There’s nothing I hate more than waste, including wastage of time. If it can be discussed, negotiated and agreed on the phone, then pick up the phone. I don’t like pointless meetings and too many people in London have them.

kris hallenga

I’d like to be remembered for…

 
Giving people the best chance to survive cancer. I don’t want to be remembered as “the girl who bravely battled cancer and eventually lost”. When I am done here, I will have lost nothing. I hope people see that I am navigating cancer the best way I can with as little suffering and fighting as possible. Aside from cancer, I want people to remember my awesome sense of humour and love of glitter and cat merch.

What makes me happiest is…

 
GELATO. MUSIC. FOOD. Good food, good company, good weather and good ol’ chats about life. I love watching people I love be happy and get excited about life and adventures.

coppafeel fundraising

Can I run in heels?

 
For LOLs, sure. Otherwise, I prefer my pom pom flats.

For more information, see the Coppafeel! website. Fancy a challenge? The CoppaFeel! Hilly Hundred is returning to the hills of Cornwall this September! The charity is partnering with the Eden Project, where the ride will start and finish, and you can choose between two hilly routes – the Hilly 100 miles or the Hilly 100 km. The event incorporates Cornwall’s most breathtaking scenery, the iconic Eden Project Biomes, endless support en route and lots and lots of hills!