Amy Dowden's emotional tribute to CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga

Watch Amy Dowden's emotional tribute to CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga

Amy Dowden has paid a special tribute to the CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga, who died aged 38 from breast cancer.

Hallenga was diagnosed with breast cancer at 23 in 2009 and she devoted the rest of her life to campaigning to save women's lives.

It was an emotional interview on Lorraine on Tuesday as Dowden remembered Hallenga's impact on her life and the life of others. She said: "For the breast community, we have definitely lost a massive bright star within us that a lot of us rely on."

Remembering Hallenga, the Strictly Come Dancing star credited the CoppaFeel! founder for saving her life and the lives of many others. She had found a lump on her breast while she was doing the CoppaFeel! trek in Pembrokeshire with her friend Giovanna Fletcher.

Amy Dowden remembers Kris Hallenga on Lorraine. (ITV screengrab)
Amy Dowden remembers Kris Hallenga on Lorraine. (ITV screengrab) (ITV screengrab)

She said: "Yeah I did the Pembrokeshire trek. I was speaking to the most wonderful trekkers. I realised I'm here raising awareness to check myself and I don't even check myself. So from that trek, I started to check myself. A few months later I found my lump. If it wasn't for CoppaFeel!, if it wasn't for Kris, I probably wouldn't be sat here right now.

In her own life, Dowden said she has come "full circle" as she now is going to be doing her second CoppaFeel! trek in June. The dancer now has celebrated doctors finding "no evidence of the disease" after she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May last year. She will not receive the all-clear from cancer for five years.

Coppafeel! founder Kris Hallenga with a microphone
Coppafeel! founder Kris Hallenga has changed the lives of many women. (Wireimage) (Joseph Okpako via Getty Images)

She explained: "I'm going to be doing the Brecon Beacon in June. For me it's a full circle, I did the one in 2022 in Pembrokeshire with Giovanna. The following year exactly I was having my mastectomy and it'll be exactly a year now. It'll be a full circle."

Emotional Dowden praised Hallenga for being an inspiration. She said: "She was always so positive. She always said she wasn't on a battle, she wasn't on a fight. I think all that she did to raise awareness is what inspired me to speak out. The message, you know your own body and if something is not right go to the GP."

Amy Dowden doing CoppaFeel! trek with Giovanna Fletcher. (ITV screengrab)
Amy Dowden doing CoppaFeel! trek with Giovanna Fletcher. (ITV screengrab) (ITV screengrab)

CoppaFeel! broke the news that the founder Hallenga had died on Monday. In a statement, CoppaFeel! said: "We share the sad news that our founder, boob chief, colleague, friend and queen of glittering turds, Kris, has died.

"Kris was the biggest promoter of being ‘alive to do those things’. She approached life in a wildly creative, fun and fearless way, and showed us that it is possible to live life to the full with cancer."

There was an outpouring of love for Hallenga on social media from celebrities. Among the stars, Fearne Cotton shared her love for her friend. She wrote: "Her face was pure sunshine not only because she was as beautiful as an angel but also because she was kind and caring and vibrant. She asked me to design her a tattoo a few years ago and I'm proud to say a hand drawn trapeze artist sat across the scar on her chest."

She added: "We talked about cats for way too long, talked about death (I was way too scared to talk about it before Kris taught me it was not just OK but necessary), ate cake together and sometimes sat in silence. I'm already running out of space here and there's so much more to say. So here we are, suddenly using words like 'was' instead of 'is' and pulling memories and photos out of the drawers.

"There’s so much to celebrate and so much to mourn. I'm mostly thinking of Maren, Kris' twin. I love you mate. We are all here for you. This evening I will be lighting a candle for my dear mate who not only touched my life but saved many others. Kris, I love you."

Giovanna Fletcher, who is at the helm of CoppaFeel!'s treks, also paid tribute to the CoppaFeel! founder. She wrote: "In 2009 Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. She was 23 and had been turned away from her GP for over a year. For 15 years she had been living with cancer. She hasn’t lost a battle, she wasn’t in a fight, and she wouldn’t want you to see her death as tragic. She died with a heart full of love. She loved her life."

She added: "The work Kris did with @coppafeel has affected so many lives. So many people are here today because of the life saving message that she has put out there. Love you Kris. I will jump in all the cold water (maybe not with inflatables) and do all the tequila shots. Xx (sic)."

This article originally appeared on Yahoo TV UK at