Ordinarily, I don’t watch breakfast TV magazine shows. Indifference to celebrity gossip, unashamed self publicity of guest’s new books and show biz ‘idols’ showing similar indifference in reporter Dan Wootton’s selfies, negating my desire to pay it much mind.
This morning, though, I was glued to a segment of ITV’s Lorraine show, featuring a remarkably spirited and inspirational lady named Kris Hallenga. A girl who, following her diagnosed of secondary breast cancer as a 23 year old in 2009, sought to educate younger women of the importance of regularly checking their boobs for anomalies. Her selfless motives to aid early diagnosis, increasing odds of full recovery should a tumour present itself.
The vehicle used to spread this breast cancer awareness an organisation set up by Kris and her sister Maren named Coppafeel. A moniker refreshingly used for a positive purpose, instead of it’s usual links to a playground question of an immature schoolboy, or alleged US political scandals.
In 2010 my wife Karen received the same incurable breast cancer verdict as Ms Hallenga. Like the now thirtysomething newspaper journalist, my spouse’s tumours had metastasised to her liver and bones.
Mercifully both ladies are still with us, despite initial oncologist predictions to the contrary. The duo benefactors of medication that, for an unknown duration, currently stabilise their tumour growths – Gifting them and their broods with unexpected existential longevity.
I’d like to think having a key supporting role in Karen’s journey has given me an insight into the capricious nature of Kris Hallenga’s own oncological odyssey. Obviously not from a patients perspective, moreover how this dreadful illness also blindsides the lives of the afflicted’s family.
Like Kris’ family, I know the sheer helplessness felt at seeing a loved one incurably stricken. A situation exacerbated with the knowledge that not a single person in the world can remedy from a physical health perspective. Circumstances that open the door to mental challenges, such as the trial of remaining positive. Along with the introduction of deeply unhelpful emotions such as anger, frustration and self-pity.
Despite her young age at contracting secondary breast cancer, meaning it was too late to rid herself of the disease, Ms Hallenga wasn’t deflected in her desire to leave a life changing legacy. Bequeathing young girls the gift of greater breast cancer awareness through her tenacious drive for it’s introduction into the school curriculum.
Her stoic resolve increasing the chances of other women succumbing to a similar fate to this inspirational lady. Information they’ll carry into an old age Kris won’t be lucky enough to sample.
Subsequently, a previously more complacent demographic age group will possess the wherewithal to make more informed decisions on their healthcare. Potentially saving families going through the sad life event as Kris Hallenga and thousands of others have endured. A melancholic existence my wife likens to being a ticking time bomb.
That being said it wouldn’t have helped my wife whose primary tumour wasn’t evident until after her secondary tumours had presented. Regardless of the fact it wouldn’t have made a difference to my wife’s circumstances, I’ve nothing but sheer admiration for Ms Hallenga and her wonderful legacy…… Good on you, lass!