CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga on the importance of sharing your struggles – The Sun
I AM very sad to say that today’s column will be my last. Before your mind goes there, it’s not because I am dying! At least not imminently.
In fact, I’ve never felt more alive. But as they say, all good things come to an end and, it feels FAR better to end something for reasons other than the cancer I’ve had for ten years dictating it.
This column has become a sort of therapy for me and it will feel odd not to panic every Monday morning about what I need to tell you.
Believe it or not, I started writing six years ago when we launched our award-winning Check ’Em Tuesday campaign on Page 3, where we stayed for eight months.
Three hundred columns later and it is still one of my and CoppaFeel!’s proudest achievements. I’ve shared some of the highest highs and most devastating lows.
In that time the cancer has progressed, spread, got killed off by some very clever treatments and was, with bloody hard work and badass treatments, made stable again.
You’ve read about saying goodbye to my ovaries, hello to a nephew, losing my darling cat, moving to Cornwall, celeb encounters, and everything far more dull in between.
I’ve proudly told you about some of CoppaFeel!’s mega milestones, like when we got cancer on the school curriculum.
We’ve grown from a team of five when I started CoppaFeel! to 15 and have massively moved the awareness dial, too.
In our survey, we found 51 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds said they checked their boobs because of CoppaFeel! compared with 31 per cent in 2015.
My sometimes witty, maybe wise, words have come to you from my bed, the hospital waiting room, my van, an airport, in the mountains in Canada, a lakeside in Italy, a fjord in Norway, Sweden, America, Germany and more.
Within the 150,000 words I’ve typed on my trusty laptop – I hope you’ve found something useful. Maybe hope, something life-affirming, comforting, silly, funny or stupid.
Most of all I hope it has done what I could only dream to achieve – make you realise that it’s possible to live with cancer.
- In me sharing my life with you all, I’ve offered up life-saving advice. Although, I hope you will never need to use it.
- In sharing my struggles, I’ve processed them.
- In sharing my triumphs, I’ve celebrated them.
- In sharing my anxiety and fear, I’ve acknowledged them.
- In writing this column, I’ve had a purpose. Bloody heck, who would have thought my column would be the therapist I never knew I needed!
It may not have always been very exciting – you try and write something thrilling about your life on a weekly basis – but by not fabricating a wild existence, I’ve hopefully shown that life just goes on, in its simplest most wonderful form.
And it is that simplicity that matters above ANYTHING. Something I hope you have learned to appreciate, too.
To simply be alive and sharing that “aliveness” has been a real pleasure and one I have never taken for granted.
I feel so lucky to have had a life to write about especially as there have been moments when I’ve wondered how much time I have left.
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