Tell us a bit about your story and how you started CoppaFeel!
When I was 22 I found a lump in my boob but had no idea how long it had been there and whether it was just a normal thing for me. It was only when it started to become more painful and stopping me sleeping on my belly at night (my favourite posish) that I mentioned it to my Mum who immediately sent me off to the GP. I was told it was hormonal and totally, absolutely, 1000% nothing to worry about. Which is EXACTLY the news I wanted. Months later, as the symptoms worsened I went back to the GP for the third time to ask to be referred to a breast clinic where I was finally told I had breast cancer. Not only was it in my left boob but it had sneakily found it’s way to my bones too. This meant it was incurable but treatable for hopefully a long time. Eleven years later I am miraculously still here. CoppaFeel! is a product of my mis-diagnosis and the ignorance of me and my doctors. No one had ever told me to check my boobs and I realised there wasn’t an organisation dedicated to young people and their relationship with boobs. So CoppaFeel! was born to right some wrongs and educate the world about BOOBS.
What is the most rewarding thing about starting CoppaFeel!?
It has to be knowing that we’re making an impact. We wouldn’t still exist if we weren’t having some kind of a positive effect on people and thankfully this is the case. We often hear from people who’ve had an early diagnosis – which means the cancer was caught at the earliest stage possible before it has spread therefore giving them the best possible chance of survival. That’s the stuff that makes all the hard work worth it.
What do you wish more people knew about CoppaFeel!?
That we’re here for YOU! Regardless of your age, gender, race, we want you to know your boobs and we want to be an encouraging and empowering mate throughout your life. Knowing about us is the first step, but being reminded to check yourself is a life time commitment that we deliver free and hopefully with a smile on our face. You can sign up to reminders or get sent some handy shower stickers through our website: coppafeel.org
What are your top tips for checking your boobs?
Firstly there’s no right or wrong way to do it, it’s simply about getting your mitts on them and having a good feel and a good look regularly. It’s important to include your armpits and collarbones in your routine too. A good place to check is in the shower since you are naked already! For the full lowdown go to https://coppafeel.org/your-boobs/boob-check-101/
You’ve done some amazing collaborations this year, what are a few of your favourites?
My personal fave has to be our huge collab with VANS. I’ve been a fan and worn their shoes for years plus we’ve been putting an event on in their skate park under Waterloo station for 4 years too. It was a big ol’ dream to actually get some boob VANS produced but after a long phone call with the team in the US over two years ago it became a reality. It’s probably one of the biggest collabs we’ve done because it’s global – it was pretty surreal seeing our logo and products in stores in far flung places like Hawaii and Hong Kong! The partnership is raising over $200k which is going to ploughed straight back in to our education work here in the UK. And the best bit? We got illustrations of naked boobs, pregnant ladies and mastectomy scars on to a pair of shoes. HOW MAD IS THAT.
How can people support CoppaFeel!?
First and foremost you can support us by checking your boobs. It’s what we’re here for and ultimately all we really want from you. But if you’re feeling super generous we will take your money too, however big or small the donation – you can trust us to put it to good use! We’re obviously all over social media so follow us, join in on the fun we get up to and help us spread the word far and wide. Never has influencing people on social media been more healthy!
How is the best way to support someone who has breast cancer and how did your family help you?
I would say the best advice is to just be there. That might sound really obvious but actually people tend to over-think their actions, their words, and it can become a bit too full on rather quickly when all your mate with cancer wants is a cup of tea and to hear the latest goss about the boy you’re dating. Normality for me was key because it helped distract me from the enormity of what I was facing. Making meals and other practical help is also so useful. I got bundled up with love, food, mountains of DVDs from my friends and family and before long they were helping me set up CoppaFeel! and for that I will always be so grateful.
Who inspires you?
There are heaps of women I look up to but no one comes close to my twin sister Maren. We shared a womb so know each other pretty well. This means I can’t hide any emotion and she knows what I need without me saying. She recently had a baby and my admiration for her, our bodies and women just exploded! I have oodles of respect for her.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Creative stuff! I wasn’t a fan of the sciences, or maths or English in fact. But I took Drama, art and design pretty seriously because it allowed me to think outside of facts and figures. I also really loved German because I was born there and obviously breezed through my German GCSE and A-Level. My twin and I plus another German kid got to have lessons away from everyone because we were fluent. They ended up essentially being a free period to do very little. WINNING.
What’s your ideal weekend?
I live in Cornwall so for me it’s a brunch somewhere delicious followed by a dip in the sea and warming stroll along a cliff top with friends. My sister has a cocker spaniel called Rambo who I love taking for walks too. Maybe its my age or perhaps living with a terminal illness for long, but I’ve definitely grown to love the simplest things most.
What will you always find in your handbag?
Hand sanitiser! And a little pot of salt. and probs a crumpled up CoppaFeel! sticker ready to hand to someone who needs some boob love in their life.
What’s your current motivational mantra?
“Breathe”. So simple yet so effective!
What would you tell your younger self?
“Bloody well check your boobs, Kris!”