At the age of 23 I was very much on the dating scene, living a relatively carefree existence, until the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As nuclear bomb–sized curveballs go, this was right up there with the best of ’em. My immediate thought was ‘I am 23 and I’m going to die’. No sooner did that thought pass when I was steamrolled by the next: ‘who on earth would fancy a bald-headed, bloated and boobless twenty-something?’ But, above all that came the realisation that I had not checked my boobs for breast cancer and I didn’t even know it could happen at my age. Both were factors that could have impacted on my life as I now live with stage 4 breast cancer at the age of 26.
There is no stage 5.
One month after the diagnosis I turned my shock and anger into pure kick–ass, immediately making it my full–time mission to encourage friends, my generation and young people everywhere to keep hold of their wonderful, carefree lives by getting to know their boobs. Breast cancer can affect young people at any age, and from this message CoppaFeel! was born. We exist to remind every young person in the UK that checking their boobs isn’t only fun, it could save their life. Awareness is at the core of our operation - we’re like a friendly bop on the head when you least expect it, encouraging a lifelong, proactive habit. We’re not here to scare the bejeezus out of people, we aim to educate and empower so we can reduce the number of fatalities from this horrific disease. I refused to let breast cancer wreck my party, and I refuse to let it wreck yours too.
Thank you to Dave for being endlessly supportive of our cause, the most wonderful thing to have come out of having cancer (yes, it’s not all bad) is getting to meet so many cool people, and Dave is a big shiny beaming light of a cool person. I’m honoured to be forewording this very insightful and entertaining book, I hope you too will fall in love with Dave’s unrivaled humour, compassion and honesty. I doubt he ever fully comprehended what he was letting himself in for and, with hindsight, skateboarding across a continent probably seems like a doddle in comparison, even if the dating involved more laugh-out-loud moments than you can shake a stick at.
You may now be wondering if I am one of the women in these pages, being paid off for his sneaky little plan by being allowed to write a few words about our ill-fated love affair, disguised as a charity dedication. Alas, I’m not and no, he genuinely cares about Britain’s boobs. We’re really thankful to Dave for dedicating this book to helping us reach more young people with our life saving message. And finally, in case you’re wondering, I do have a boyfriend, whom I met when I had NO HAIR and a bloated crusty face, so take it from me, there is hope for us all.
Now, off you go to www.coppafeel.org and check your boobs immediately. And check your partners’ too, although that’s not guaranteed to happen on your first date, I’m hastened to add.