Kris Hallenga, Advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness Among the Young, Dies at 38

When Kris Hallenga was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer — the most advanced form — at 23, questions swirled through her head: “Why didn’t anyone tell me to check my boobs? Why didn’t I know I could get breast cancer at 23?”

If she hadn’t known that she could have breast cancer so young, there was a very good chance others were equally uninformed, she said in a 2021 interview with The Guardian. She spent the next 15 years educating young people about early detection through her nonprofit organization, CoppaFeel, and in a 2021 memoir, “Glittering a Turd.”

On Monday, CoppaFeel announced that Ms. Hallenga had died at 38. A spokesman for the organization said she had died at home in Cornwall, England, and that the cause was breast cancer.

“Survival was never enough,” she said during a publicity tour in 2021. “I don’t just want to survive, I want to be able to really look at my life and go, ‘I’m glad to still be here, and I’m getting the most of what I want from life.’”

Kristen Hallenga was born on Nov. 11, 1985, in Norden, a small town in northern Germany, to a German father and an English mother, both of whom were teachers, according to The Times of London. When she was 9, she moved to Daventry in central England with her mother, Jane Hallenga; her twin sister, Maren Hallenga; and their older sister Maike Hallenga, all three of whom survive her. Her father, Reiner Hallenga, died of a heart attack when she was 20.

Ms. Hallenga first felt a lump in 2009 when she was in Beijing working for a travel company and teaching on the side. During a visit back home in the Midlands in central England, Ms. Hallenga went to her internist. She told The Guardian that her doctor had blamed the lump on hormonal changes associated with her birth control pill.

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