CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga dies aged 38

UK

Kris Hallenga, the founder of breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, has died aged 38.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 23 and lived with the illness for 15 years, tirelessly campaigning for breast cancer awareness in that time.

A statement on the charity’s website said: “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.”

Ms Hallenga’s breast cancer was terminal by the time it was diagnosed in 2009.

“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,” the charity said.

Describing her as “founder, boob chief, colleague, friend and queen of glittering turds”, CoppaFeel said she 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.”

Last year Ms Hallenga threw a living funeral, where guests were invited to sign a cardboard replica of her coffin and childhood footage was projected around Truro Cathedral in Cornwall.

Dawn French did the eulogy in character as the Vicar of Dibley, while Ms Hallenga gave a speech and sparkled in a glittery jumpsuit.

Afterwards, she posted on Instagram: “I’ve never felt love like it. I’ve never felt joy like it. I’ve never felt such kinship with mortality. I’ve never felt so alive.”

Read more from Sky News:
Women aged 18 to 25 urged to check for breast cancer
Women diagnosed young have higher risk of breast cancer spreading

Ms Hallenga 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 from Nottingham Trent University and wrote a memoir titled Glittering a Turd.

A post on her Instagram page announcing the news to her 146,000 followers was signed off by her cat Lady Marmalade.

It said: “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.”

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