Cancer sufferer turns personal heartache into public awareness

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A YOUNG woman whose breast cancer diagnosis inspired her to launch the life-saving CoppaFeel! charity is to tell her story to an Edinburgh audience.

Kristin Hallenga was only 23 when she was told she had the disease, which later spread to her liver, her bones and her brain.

However, her horror at the news rapidly gave way to a determination to spread the message that catching cancer early gives you a greater chance of survival and recovery.

She will discuss her journey in the latest in the Chancellor Talk series at Edinburgh Napier University, entitled How to Glitter a Turd, on the evening of Wednesday 29 January.

Kristin Hallenga – image supplied

Kris founded breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! with her twin sister Maren in 2009.

Kris’ doctor had originally dismissed a tumour on her breast as “hormonal” leading to a late diagnosis, which was followed swiftly by chemotherapy to shrink the cancer, then a mastectomy.

CoppaFeel! was born just two months after the diagnosis, while she was still undergoing treatment, as she began campaigning to reduce the incidence of late detection.

Her London-based charity stresses there is no such thing as “too young for cancer”, and encourages teenagers and twentysomethings to check their breasts.

Kris, now 34 and living with stage four beast cancer, said she was very much looking forward to her evening in Edinburgh.

She said: “I can’t think of a better excuse to come and visit one of my favourite cities in the world! This will be my first talk in Edinburgh, and I’m excited to share my story.

“I think the idea for Chancellor Talks, and the fact that they are free and accessible to anyone, is awesome.”

The university’s Chancellor, David Eustace, added: “There are few things more upsetting than hearing about a young person being diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting Kris and hearing first-hand how she has used this horrendous experience to inspire campaigns which will make a difference to the lives of countless others.”

 
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