06-03-2018 10:39 AM - edited 06-03-2018 3:04 PM
We're celebrating women who make a difference this International Women's Day (Thursday 8th March), we started with Liverpool Ladies FC who are breaking down boundaries and kicking out gender stereotypes to inspire women to be whoever they want to be.
Not only did Avon join forces with LLFC last year, they also joined with a new charity partner, CoppaFeel!
CoppaFeel!'s mission is to educate young women on the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to raise awareness of the need for regular important boob checks!
The Avon partnership with CoppaFeel! has largely focused on supporting their team of 'Boobettes' across the UK. The Boobettes are a group of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 35, have had a breast cancer scare at a young age, or have a strong connection to the disease. They use their stories and experiences to inspire others to think differently about their bodies and educate people on the importance of knowing their boobs.
When British journalist and writer Alice-May Purkiss found a lump in her right breast, she never thought it could be cancer. She was only 26. “I was in the habit of checking my breasts, but never knew that young women could get breast cancer.” However, this bad news gave Alice-May unexpected strength to stand up for other women who, like her, were also fighting a tough battle. Within minutes of her diagnosis, the fashion fan with a self-described penchant for polka dots, began blogging about her condition to raise awareness of breast cancer in younger women – and to encourage as many women as possible to carry out their own breast exams.
She also signed up as a Boobette, she goes to schools, workplaces and community centres to spread the word about prevention, or as she says, “basically anywhere that will have me”. In a world where one out of eight women is expected to experience breast cancer in her lifetime, the work of Alice-May can be lifesaving.
“Women are constantly pitted against each other. Standing alongside other women, raising them up and supporting them, is a revolutionary act,” says Alice-May. “Being a cheerleader, coach, admirer, ally and defender for women makes a huge difference to everyone.
Beyond her charity work, Alice-May can also be found at her personal blog, a project that, in addition to breasts, discusses fashion, beauty, food, travel and the lifestyle of an optimistic, funny and fearless twenty-something Londoner.
Check out our full interview with Alice below...
Tell us about yourself, who are you?
I’m a journalist, writer and social media marketer in my day-to-day life, but I’m also a Boobette and trustee for the breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!
Why did you decide to get involved with CoppaFeel?
When I found a lump in my right breast when I was 26 years old, I never expected it would be cancer. I never expected that I would need to have a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was in the habit of checking my breasts but never really knew that young women could get breast cancer.
Within minutes of my diagnosis in July 2015, I decided I wanted to get involved with CoppaFeel! I knew of the charity and knew that they helped to educate people on the importance of being breast aware, but I didn’t know what a massively positive impact being part of the charity would have on my life!
I started Boobettes in April 2016, and in that role, I go into schools, workplaces, WI’s, community centres, basically anywhere that will have me, and talk about the importance of checking your breasts on a regular basis.
I tell my story and go through the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in the hope that through this education we can stamp out the late detection of breast cancer. I became a trustee for the charity in the summer of 2017 and I help drive the charity forward to make sure we’re getting our message to as many people as possible.
What is your dream?
As part of CoppaFeel! my dream is to live in a world where late detection of breast cancer doesn't exist. The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome from treatment and carry on your life, happy and healthy. The more people we can educate on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and the more people we can get checking their boobs on a regular basis, the more likely this is to happen!
On a personal level, my dream is to keep telling stories - my own or other people’s, in an effort to spread the word about great things people, particularly women, are doing.
What has been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment came two days after my final chemotherapy session, when, along with a bunch of my closest friends and family, I ran a 10km, balder than my father and fighting off bouts of nausea and extreme exhaustion. But I finished it!
Being asked to join the trustee board of CoppaFeel! is another exceptionally proud moment for me. I am so passionate about what the charity does, and I want to do everything I can to help it continue doing amazing things. Being on the board is an incredible way to do this.
How important is it for women to stand up for each other?
We live in a world where women are constantly pitted against each other - and actually standing alongside other women, raising them up and supporting them is a revolutionary act. Being a cheerleader, coach, admirer, ally and defender for women makes a huge difference to everyone.
I’m a firm believer in the Shine Theory too, surrounding yourself with awesome women who are great at what they do, with the belief that how they live their lives reflects positively on you. And women are awesome, so why wouldn’t you support them?
If you could send a message to girls who are trying to make a difference like you, what would you say?
Find something that really makes your heart sing and pursue it. It’s easier to make a difference when you’re working towards something you’re passionate about, and it’s easier to find the time and space to do those things when it’s for something you love. Work hard. Play hard. Have fun. Explore. Trust yourself. Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself. And know that whatever life throws at you, one day you'll look back and see the dots of your past connect in a way you never realized they would!