CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga dies after 'living life to full' with cancer

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CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga dies after 'living life to full' with cancer -Credit:CoppaFeel!

CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga has sadly passed away at the age of 38 after a long battle with cancer. The Pride of Britain winner was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was only 23.

Her charity released a statement on Monday (May 6) stating: "We share the sad news that our founder, boob chief, colleague, friend and queen of glittering turds, Kris, has died."

"Kris was the biggest promoter of being 'alive to do those things'. She approached life in a wildly creative, fun and fearless way, and showed us that it is possible to live life to the full with cancer."

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The post continued: "In 2009 Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23, after being turned away from her GP for over a year. By the time she was diagnosed, it was terminal. Kris’ ambition was for no one else to find themselves in her position and so CoppaFeel! was born, to ensure breast cancers are diagnosed early and accurately.

"Kris has reached millions of people with her message of health advocacy and empowerment, successfully campaigned for cancer education to be included in the school curriculum, won the Women of the Year Outstanding Young Campaigner award, received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Nottingham Trent University and wrote a Times Best Selling book: Glittering a Turd.

"Kris’ life mission was that CoppaFeel! would no longer need to exist, with late diagnosis of breast cancer eradicated in her lifetime. We are committed to continuing Kris’ legacy, to ensure that everyone has the best chance of living a happy and healthy life. If you’d like to support this mission, you can donate here.

"For 15 years Kris had been living with secondary breast cancer. She hasn't lost a battle, she wasn't in a fight and she certainly wouldn't want you to see her death as tragic. She was simply living. She was 38 and died with fulfilment and a heart full of love."

A photo of Kris Hallenga
Pride of Britain 09: Kristin Hallenga a cancer victim who campaigns for others -Credit:The Daily Mirror

CoppaFeel! added: "Kris' family have one request for peace and privacy to allow them the time and space needed to process Kris' death. We would like to thank our community for your love and messages of support and kindly ask that you respect the family's wishes at this time.

"Please remember the amazing life Kris led and the things she achieved, but above all else honour her memory by checking your could just save your life. 'Trust your body, believe in hope, leave room for miracles.' Kris Hallenga. With love from all at CoppaFeel! HQ x".

Kris was open about her experience living with cancer and the impact it had on her life. She first noticed a lump in one of her breasts at the age of 22, but did not know how long it had been there.

The health advocate illustrated that she initially underestimated her symptoms. "I very much downplayed my symptoms because that's what we do, isn't it? I was like, 'Oh, it's fine. I thought I'd mention it, but I'm really not worried.' It was that typically British behaviour of apologising and backing out of the door because I didn't want to waste their time," she previously intimated.

Upon being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, Kris admitted it "didn't feel real" and expressed her confusion about how it could have possibly occurred. "The doctors seemed as shocked as I was about it, which is confusing, because they're the experts and know that breast cancer can happen at any age," Kris added.

Touching tributes have been streaming in for Kris post the news of her demise. A message from Kris' Instagram account, penned as if by her pet cat Lady Marmalade, read: "Whilst I'm sad that I no longer get to cuddle her and that she's no longer here to feed me, I want you to know that I will be ok. I've lots of lovely human friends looking after me. There's one that looks and sounds just like Kris. She will do."

Kristen Hallenga with Jenny Steele (pic: Roger Allen, DM)
Kristen Hallenga with Jenny Steele -Credit:No credit

"To you, she was known as the Queen of Turd Glittering. However, to me, she was a perfect companion. For 15 years she has been living with secondary breast cancer. She didn't lose a battle, nor was she involved in a fight, and she wouldn't want you to view her death as tragic. She was simply living. She was aged 38 and she passed away with fulfilment and a heart filled with love."

"Her final message from her to you would be one that probably involved checking your chest, getting in some cold water, talking more about death and dying, that even the turdiest of turds are glitterable, that you should always see the silly side of life, that she loved her life and that giving Neighbours 2.0 is worth another chance."

Following her friend's death, Dawn French reprised her role as the Vicar of Dibley for Kris' "living funeral" last year to celebrate her "extraordinary life" as Geraldine Granger, the comedian delivered a touching eulogy.

The living funeral was organised so the CoppaFeel! founder could be "drunk on love and gratitude" for the people who surround her and celebrated her life. "So much love filling @trurocathedral. It was her own festival celebrating an extraordinary life. What a total babe," French said in a social media post.

According to the NHS, there are a number of breast cancer symptoms that women should be aware of, including:

  • A lump, or swelling in your breast, chest or armpit

  • A change in the skin of your breast, such as dimpling (may look like orange peel) or redness (may be harder to see on black or brown skin)

  • A change in size or shape of 1 or both breasts

  • Nipple discharge (if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding), which may have blood in it

  • A change in the shape or look of your nipple, such as it turning inwards (inverted nipple) or a rash on it (may look like eczema)

  • Pain in your breast or armpit which does not go away – breast pain that comes and goes is usually not a symptom of breast cancer