Boobs, jugs, melons, whappers, bangers, the twins! All terms a group of friends from Dundee want us to start using and stop blushing over as they launch a video campaign – inspired by one mum’s courageous response to her breast cancer diagnosis.
The tongue-in-cheek video to promote Jog For Jugs, a breast cancer awareness campaign, features the friends along with Lorraine Kelly and other Scottish personalities including model Emma-Louise Connolly, actress Joanna Vanderham and presenter Lee McKenzie.
Becky Chapple, 28, from Broughty Ferry, is the driving force behind the campaign following her mum’s breast cancer diagnosis last October.
“This campaign is because of my mum not about her,” Becky explains. “Lots of people get cancer and lots of people’s families have to deal with it.
“Of course it has been hard. Cancer is impossible to deal with in normal circumstances but, just like everything, it is so intensified and complicated by Covid.
“The hardest part for me is that when something devastating happens in your life the first thing you do is want to phone your mum.
“Sometimes you just have to go to your best friends for a hug and a movie because it does all catch up with you. But that’s not an option at the moment.
“So I channelled my thoughts and feelings into something else. I asked some close friends if they would support me and the rest is history, here we are!”
Becky continues: “The line on the video is ‘whatever you call them, check them out’. It doesn’t matter if you call them boobs or melons or jugs, if you want to make it funny or whatever. They are all breasts and you can get cancer in them.”
The Jog For Jugs video and social media campaign hopes to encourage others to check themselves regularly and seek medical support straight away if anything feels abnormal.
The campaign has become a labour of love for the friends who had been working and living away from Tayside, and each other, when the pandemic brought them back together.
Becky, an area manager with Amazon, says: “One of the girls on the Jog for Jugs committee is Rachael, my childhood best friend. I’m an only child and she is like my sister. Another, Heather, and I used to work together at the Hotel Broughty Ferry many years ago. One of the group also worked with us and others we went to school with.
“So it’s this mix of people who all pulled together to help me do this campaign. It has been amazing to watch but also bizarre because everything has been virtual.”
When Covid first hit, Becky was managing a hotel in Cornwall. Her furlough time at home made her reassess her life – and move home to Dundee for good.
“I was furloughed from November and I came home for the duration of my mum’s treatment. That was quite a unique experience being at home with my mum going through chemo and surgery.
“The next part of her treatment is upcoming. I think this campaign has been a fantastic distraction for both of us.”
‘How many of us are actually checking?’
She continues: “The pandemic realigned my thoughts and feelings and made me realise how happy I was in Scotland. Just being here, by the sea, it made me realise how much I miss it. When the world stops you think ‘what am I doing?'”
Becky says: “My mum didn’t want everyone to know and I respected that. But the more I spoke to close friends and confidantes about this, the more I realised that we might know we need to check our boobs but how many of us are actually doing it?
“I am now but I wasn’t in the past. What really shook me about my mum’s diagnosis was you never think it is going to happen to you. You never think it will be your family. You hear all these horror stories about other people but don’t think it will happen to you. Then when it does it absolutely shatters your world.
“I am not going to stop people getting cancer but we have to help people find it sooner. And we have to normalise checking your boobs. We have to talk about it: friends, sisters, brothers, nephews, it’s not just women, anyone can get this disease.
“You can see the changes and feel the changes if you look for them. With internal organs you don’t always know. But you have an opportunity to catch this kind of cancer.”
Becky’s travels over the years have seen her gain a diverse group of friends from their 20s up to 60s. Yet she says she found the minority are checking their breasts. In the time she’s been working on the campaign two friends have gone to get checked.
She says: “We want to dispel the myth that ‘if it is painful it’s not cancer’. My mum had a pain in her arm that she thought she’d strained. She subsequently found a lump, got it checked out and was moved through the system and is currently mid-treatment.
“We’ve been so lucky as a family and if this campaign can help just one person find a lump early and get it seen to then it’s all worth it. The sad thing is we can’t stop people having to go through this but I’m hoping to help people be as lucky as we’ve been.
“It is still awful but Mum’s prognosis is good. If things are left unchecked the situation is not good.”
Becky continues: “Throughout the pandemic, fewer and fewer people have been visiting the doctor when they find concerning changes to their boobs or pecs which is a real and worrying problem.”
Susan Chapple, Becky’s mum, adds: “I’m exceptionally proud of Becky and her pals for pulling this campaign together and hope it raises lots of awareness.
“I would also like to thank the wonderful breast care professionals at Ninewells. My care has been absolutely fantastic over the course of my treatment and I am so grateful.”
‘Getting Lorraine and CoppaFeel! involved was amazing’
Jog for Jugs encourages everyone to check themselves, then jog or walk 8km to raise vital funds for CoppaFeel!.
Becky adds: “Getting Lorraine on board was amazing. The idea for the video came to me in a dream and now that I’m seeing it, eight weeks on, having come to fruition, it takes my breath away. It is exactly how I wanted it to be.
“It’s all my friends who mean something to Mum and all mum’s friends, normal people, normal faces. My dad is in it. We just want people to be invested in it and realise that this is so important.
“The work that CoppaFeel! do is incredible. This campaign is about awareness raising for me, but it’s also about raising funds too.”
Becky’s experience has given her a new perspective on teaching future generations about checking themselves too. She says: “This has to be ingrained from a young age. It needs to be taught at the same time as sex education classes at school.”
With such drive and determination to spread the word and make an impact, it seems Becky and friends may be at the start of something much bigger with their campaign.
Without being able to touch others as freely lately, have you been learning to trust your own touch? Getting into a routine of feeling yourself regularly will help you stay clued up on what normal means for you.
— CoppaFeel! (@CoppaFeelPeople) July 22, 2020
Jog for Jugs will be promoted across social media, with participants encouraged to jog or walk 8km, donate £8 to CoppaFeel!, check their boobs or pecs and nominate eight friends to do the same by sharing a selfie of themselves with their hand on their chest and tagging their pals’ social handles. The number ‘8’ symbolises the devastating statistic that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
Katie from CoppaFeel!, says: “We are thrilled to be supported by the Jog For Jugs campaign. The work that Becky and the team have put into this project is truly inspirational, and the awareness and funds it will raise in aid of CoppaFeel! will help us in our mission to stamp out the late detection of breast cancer.
“After such a trying year, it is important now more than ever to spread awareness of the importance of getting to know your body, checking regularly and speaking to your GP if you notice any concerning changes.”