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POSITIVE NEWS - Three wise women: female founders who inspired us in 2021

Posted 17th December 2021 • Written by •

Kris Hallenga, Josephine Philips and Hattie Hasan stood out among the women featured in Positive News magazine this year, by turning three great (and very different) ideas into reality

We looked back at the four uplifting issues of Positive News magazine published this year and picked out three of the women we featured who inspired us the most. Here, we recap their stories to help inspire you for 2022.


1) Lessons from 12 years living with terminal cancer: Kris Hallenga

When we spoke to her for the first issue of Positive News magazine of 2021, Kris Hallenga was in a reflective mood. It was then 12 years since she was diagnosed, aged 23, with terminal breast cancer and given just two and a half years to live.

Hallenga told us that she credits her longevity to excellent medical care, a concoction of new and not-so-new drugs, the love of friends and family, and, most importantly, an abiding passion for life.

Much of that passion over the last decade and more, she has poured into CoppaFeel!, a cancer awareness charity that Hallenga set up just three months after her diagnosis. Its mission is simple: to talk boobs. Or, more accurately, boobs with lumps. Schools, music festivals, social media platforms; CoppaFeel! takes its message to young people wherever they are, however it can.

Behind the serious message of the 17-strong CoppaFeel! team, there’s a refreshing irreverence to much of what they do. “Spreading the boob love,” is how Hallenga sums up their strategy. Compared to the usually sober world of medical charities, their upbeat tone helps to set CoppaFeel! apart. It also resonates with their target audience, who, like many of the staff, are primarily young adults.

This summer, Hallenga released her first book, which has a characteristically tongue-in-cheek title – Glittering a Turd. (Her Instagram handle is @howtoglitteraturd). One revelation Hallenga has arrived at is coming to see that it isn’t the metaphorical turd that made her great. Her ‘greatness’, for want of a better term, was always within her.

“What I mean is that I hope that there was something within me that would have powered me to create something special and do something extraordinary with my life even without cancer. It shouldn’t take cancer to do cool shit, I guess,” she said.

I want us to find our superpowers, our strengths, our ‘big-ness’ without a terminal illness

Hallenga reflected that cancer has helped her to be “cheered from the sidelines”, “to be allowed to be me”, and she urged everyone to seize the chance to do the same.

“We’re more proud of people who’ve achieved through pain and suffering than those who are just being unapologetically loud and proud and brilliant and wise and happy,” she said.

“So, I want us to find our superpowers, our strengths, our ‘big-ness’ without a terminal illness. I am giving everyone permission to exist fully without cancer. Without turds. Just glitter.”

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