CoppaFeel! UBT Society Spotlight
Founded in 2009, CoppaFeel! is a London based charity which strives toward educating and encouraging women under 30 to be proactive and get into the swing of regularly checking their breasts. Earlier this year, we gave affiliation to our own CoppaFeel! UBT (Uni Boob Team) here at the Union. Following International Women’s Week, we interviewed committee members Constantia, the President, Ella, Treasurer and Helena, Secretary to find out more about what they do.
When asked what distinguishes CoppaFeel! from other cancer charities, Constantia pointed out that it is less focused on research and cure and is instead centred around a mission of tackling late detection of breast cancer. The trio spoke about how the charity want to normalise breast checking and make people aware of what they should look and feel out for when doing so. The girls explained that some of the symptoms to be mindful of include:
- Changes in skin texture
- Lumps or thickening of skin
- Change in breast size or shape
- Discharge from the nipple and/or inversion of the nipple
- Swelling and/or pain in the breast, armpit or collar bone area
The girls commented that it’s not just women who are affected by breast cancer. In fact, 400 men are diagnosed every year which means that CoppaFeel! also work hard to encourage men to perform monthly checks too. They said that male students are welcome to join the society, Helena said: ‘some of our guy friends came along to help at our events like No Worries Wednesday which was good! It adds a different dynamic… it’s really good to have a guy who can approach other guys, because there’s sometimes a bit of awkwardness because you’re talking about boobs!’
CoppaFeel! also has a growing celebrity following, including Russell Howard, Fearne Cotton and Greg James. Constantia said: ‘I think by having celebrities who appeal to the younger audience who we’re trying to target really helps to spread our message’. The charity has adopted a light-hearted approach to their online and offline campaigning which the UBT aims to replicate. They do this by holding various social events – so far this has included a Pink Party where the society teamed up with RAG. Helena commented that you can also sign up for monthly text alerts from the charity to remind you to check your breasts, saying: ‘at Christmas CoppaFeel!’s reminder was, ‘tis the season of giving so share the boob love this Christmas. Check your baubles and send this text to your pals’.
As well as having a humorous online presence, CoppaFeel! also use have a trademark ‘boob costume’ which the UBT wear at events including Refreshers’ (see photo below) – this is definitely an eye catcher! Constantia said: ‘You can see through the texts and the boob costume around campus it’s all meant to be fun – we always say that we have a serious message but a fun approach which helps tackle the taboo aspect’. As well as this, CoppaFeel! charity send the UBT ‘missions’ for them to complete. Ella said: ‘this month we’re doing Shower Hijack –this involves going into the gym and hanging up door handle posters with the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to spread awareness…being in the shower is a great opportunity to check your breasts’. Some members are also running 10k and Helena is even braving a half marathon.
CoppaFeel! UBT currently have 11 members who come from all different subject backgrounds and would love for more students to get involved. They meet fortnightly and the girls said that being a member is flexible and fits around students busy schedules. Members are encouraged to help with ticket selling and promoting the society during events. Constantia said: ‘we don’t ask for a membership fee, but our events are ticketed. We had one at Switch nightclub where entry is normally £6, but we managed to get it for £4 which included VIP’.
As CoppaFeel! UBT have only recently gained affiliation, the girls said they have lots of exciting plans and hope to collaborate on events with other societies including FemSoc. Overall it seems that joining CoppaFeel! UBT is a fun and sociable way of spreading a very important message. You can find out more about this society at:
To find out more about CoppaFeel! charity, click here