Giles talks about the Men Get Breast Cancer Too campaign and the charities collaboration

Giles has been part of the campaign right from the start... see what he had to say about the announcement below!

Giles Cooper

Walk the Walk are proud to be working with Maggie’sTenovus Cancer CareFACTPenny BrohnAction CancerCoppaFeelBreast Cancer NowBreast Cancer Haven and the Male Breast Cancer Coalition... our goal is to raise even more awareness across the world and to save lives.

See what Giles has to say...

"Creating awareness about male breast cancer since my diagnosis in 2015 has been a slow journey. For these prominent charities to be uniting with Walk the Walk to support our Men Get Breast Cancer Too campaign is a massive step forward!

Let me explain …

…  when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, I felt like I was a sole crusader – working totally on my own to raise as much awareness as I could about male breast cancer.  My family background was very unusual as both my father and uncle had died from the disease one year apart. Until their diagnosis, I had never met another man with breast cancer and I felt quite isolated trying to promote a cause that I felt so very strongly about. I was a one-man band, pinging emails here and there in the hope that someone would listen! After an appearance on GMTV, one of my friends asked me if I was just looking for personal profile! That couldn’t have been further from the truth- I was just desperate to use any opportunity I could to get the message out there that men too can get breast cancer.

Giles Cooper with his Dad Stephen

In an attempt to expand my message, I linked-up and worked closely with a small number of well-respected breast cancer charities and other organisations, but as was often the case, my message was low priority and very little seemed to change in terms of the actual message being promoted. Breast cancer was still perceived to only be a women’s disease and there seemed to be few profile opportunities for men! 

Then I discovered Walk the Walk – a charity who are focused on breast cancer grant making to support research and the care of cancer patients and their families. It was such a breath of fresh air, and a real revelation that here was a charity, linked to breast cancer support that understood and were passionate about raising awareness that Men Get Breast Cancer Too. I was motivated and excited but I had little expectation from the start that anything would actually change!

I vividly remember the first time I met in person the Walk the Walk staff and the original six men involved in the Men Get Breast Cancer Too campaign. We congregated in London and from the minute I walked into the room, I immediately got such a strong feeling that everyone was there with the same intention and desire – to use any opportunity we could to promote this vital message – it was then that I thought this time could be different. I no longer felt alone. We were a proactive, motivated and enthusiastic team with one simple objective!

As a new group, we chatted over coffee and cakes about how we had all been struggling in our own different ways to promote and raise awareness of the same message. However we were now at the start of something different and we were all coming together with a united voice. I felt empowered and excited about the journey ahead.

Speaking to other men that day was a strange but reassuring experience and in many ways it was highly therapeutic. These were normal, professional people, very like-minded, all of whom had been through the same trauma that I had. I knew that they were thinking the same as me, they had the same worries, were living through the same consequences and most importantly, they had a similar same desire to promote the same message but this time, with a single voice!

When you get breast cancer as a man, it’s very hard to talk to anyone about it, as it’s so unusual. There have been many times when I have been out socialising and have been met with disbelief when I have explained my run-in with cancer. “But men can’t get breast cancer can they? Men don’t have breasts” If I could have a pound for each time I have had this response I would be very rich!

As a man with breast cancer you can feel very isolated but that day, when we first gathered, I suddenly felt that I was part of a very special ‘club’ which was not only supporting me, but gave me more confidence to work even harder to spread the message. We were all coming together with the same aim, but this time we also had a charity – Walk the Walk – who believed in us and who were prepared to help us spread the word.

What Walk the Walk has done with its Men Get Breast Cancer Too campaign is amazing. I just love the design of the “Check your Chest” poster they created. It’s so clever and really does help emphasis the really important message that men (as well as women) should check their chest area regularly. It’s wonderful to have some really strong material to share. I have preached my message many times and to many audiences and now finally we have a simple but effective poster to promote our cause. 

The “blue bra” t-shirt which Walk the Walk created for all men taking part in its MoonWalk events is so effective too. Like the posters, it really gives the campaign identity. Yes – the background of the t-shirt is still pink, but the blue bra highlights the male message. It’s breast cancer, it’s men, it’s blue! 

I have loved wearing my blue bra t-shirts at our media gatherings and remember all too well the double takes from passing tourists when we all stood as a group on The London Embankment last year!

The public awareness of male breast cancer was minimal when I was diagnosed but since we have all started working together, and with the wonderful support of Walk the Walk, the transformation in public awareness has been mind boggling. The force in numbers within our group is a huge advantage – from six, we’ve become nineteen, and growing. Creating awareness is still an uphill battle but it’s a much more enjoyable battle when you are fighting a cause with the support of many like-minded people around you.

If every so often, male breast cancer can be discussed in the same breath as female breast cancer, then we are making progress and I am convinced that there will be at least one man out there who has discovered his breast cancer because of something which our wonderful group and Walk the Walk have done.

Breast Cancer is predominantly a pink disease! It is associated with women and so historically any events, literature or clothing has featured pink colouring. I have tried for a long time to get charities to introduce an element of blue but have constantly failed. Walk the Walk was the first charity to introduce an element of blue, a fantastic but simple and effective way of raising awareness of breast cancer in men.

Onwards and upwards. Men can get breast cancer – let’s keep spreading the word and thank you on behalf of all men who have had breast cancer to the charities for helping us have an even louder voice!"

- Giles Cooper

Why not download our 'Check your Chest' Poster... help us spread the word!



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