Being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in your early 20s can be a fairly crippling thought. You just finished high school and you’re just about to get your adult life going. While many would lose hope and give up, Kristin Hallenga did the opposite. Driven by a frustration that arose from lack of awareness, early diagnosis issues and a lack of support for young adults with terminal cancers, Kristin is now making a big difference in the cancer landscape.
Kristin was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 23. The doctors notified her that the cancer would reach her spine, leaving almost zero hope for survival. With the diagnosis coming a whole 12 months after she found the lump, she lost faith in the medical system and decided to campaign herself, to prevent other women from meeting the same fate. In 2009, she started CoppaFeel! with her twin sister and they’re doing incredible things. The organization focuses on eye-catching campaigns, flash mobs and other trendy moves that are proving to be quite successful.
CoppaFeel! is currently working on promoting “Check ‘Em Tuesday” – a set day for women to check their breasts for lumps – which has gained quite the following. They’re also working on getting lingerie manufacturers to add a label inside bras reminding them to regularly check their breasts. All of this is to ensure that women become aware what the signs are and how to act quickly, to maximize the chances of survival.
Kristin has launched Rethink Cancer, under the CoppaFeel! umbrella. It will be targeting schools, to train staff and teachers to be able to educate their students on the importance of habitual self-checks, as well as the importance of health and health issues. To make this happen, Kristin is requesting everyone to write to teachers and their respective Members of Parliament, to address health in their curriculum.
We find Kristen’s story very inspiring, and we love seeing someone turn negativity into something positive. We wish her, CoppaFeel! and anyone else who is trying to increase awareness for cancers the best of luck!