Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Meet CoppaFeel! founder, Kris Hallenga

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1st – 31st October) we’re proudly supporting breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! by donating £20,000 of the profits from our exclusive feel-good boutique collection of products. We caught up with the charity’s fearless and fabulous founder, Kris Hallenga…

A: Hi Kris, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Please introduce yourself!

I’m Kris, the founder of CoppaFeel!. When I’m not talking about boobs I’m probably banging on about my cat, Lady Marmalade. I’m 33 (turning 34 in November!), I have an identical twin sister called Maren and I live in beautiful Cornwall.

A: What is the best thing about being the founder of CoppaFeel!?

I think being the founder of anything is pretty damn cool. I never saw myself as someone driven or motivated enough to start something brand new before I was diagnosed so I actually really surprised myself. Obviously, the proudest thing is seeing the impact we’re having and the response we get from all our campaigning and hard work. It makes it all so ruddy worth it.

A: It shows incredible strength that your reaction to the diagnosis was to start a charity to help others, where did you find that strength, energy and passion?

I have no idea. But I actually think we all possess a little bit of that killer badass inside us, and we just don’t know it’s there until we really need it. I find the energy because I know what we do matters and I’m passionate because I see the impact. Nothing worth doing is easy and straight forward. Having said that, I have my moments of weakness and low-energy, but I think that’s allowed!

A: What is the most important message you communicate to your audience?

CHECK YOUR BOOBS. It’s as simple as that. Currently, we’re running a campaign called “Grab Life By The Boobs”. The premise is that we want everyone to have a future free from breast cancer. Every ounce of life is precious so it’s worth grabbing on to and celebrating, much like your body.

A: In what way do you spread your very important messages?

We visit schools, recruit ambassadors at universities, we take our boob mobile Belinda to festivals, we have a free text message reminder and hand out copious amounts of shower stickers, which are a useful prompt to check in the shower. Each year we also put on our annual event called Festifeel at the House of Vans in London. This is a big ol’ celebration of everything we do and helps us to get the word out even further (plus it raises money, which is of course also beneficial!)

A: It’s CoppaFeel!’s 10 year anniversary this year, what’s your proudest moment/fondest memory of the past decade?

Gosh, there are so many things I’m proud of! I love that we’ve created a charity that gives people the opportunity to be good humans. Our team are good humans and everyone who volunteers for us LOVE what they do and it’s so nice to see. Of course, the proudest thing of all is hearing from people we’ve reached telling us their cancer has been diagnosed early because they were checking themselves and they knew the symptoms to look for. We can’t say for sure that we’ve saved lives because cancer has a sneaky habit of sometimes returning in the future, but we know for certain that we’ve given people the best chance of surviving because, statistically speaking, if a cancer is found at the earliest stage the survival rate is vastly higher. We believe everyone deserves that chance.

A: You already do so many amazing things, what’s next for Coppafeel!

Wider reach, to more people, more communities, more “pockets” of people who are currently not being educated. We want to reach BME groups, people who don’t go to uni, young mums and basically everyone that needs to hear our message. Having said that, we also want to ensure what we already do is done even better, even bigger and more efficiently. There’s no need for big changes because we’re already doing big things, we just have to do them better.

A: What’s your favourite ‘everyday’ motivational mantra / affirmation?

“Breathe”. Reminding myself to take a good deep breath is the most grounding thing I can do each day and it really helps me focus!

A: Aside from boob-checking, what other self-care rituals do you have?

I bloody love having a bath. It’s the ultimate “me” moment when I take a long soak in epsom salts. I also like to stretch out my body and practice yoga and reformer pilates.

A: How important is it for CoppaFeel! to partner with brands? (… Like us!)

Hugely! We need as many different audiences to listen to our message and the vehicle for doing that is brand partnerships. It would take us way longer to reach such a huge group of people without you guys! Of course, we also very much need the funds to keep doing our work. For me, partnerships have to feel authentic and truly meaningful. When a brand puts their name to a charity we make sure the people signing the contract actually check their boobs – what’s the point in telling your audience to do something that you haven’t committed to yourself?

A: Which is your favourite piece from the Accessorize x CoppaFeel! collection?

I love the scarf. I’m really into fun forms of headgear and I think it’s so cute to tie it up on your head – or alternatively round your neck!

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