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Cancer Campaigner Dame Deborah James Dies At 40

Cancer campaigner and Podcaster Deborah James, whose frank account of living life with bowel cancer raised millions from the cancer research and saw her celebrated as a damehood, has died at home aged 40. 

Deborah James had been getting end-of-life care at her home since disclosing she had stopped treatment for her bowel cancer in May. Family of her announced her death in a post on her Instagram page, reciting her as “the most astonishing daughter, wife, mummy, sister”.

The BBC’s host You, Me and the Big C podcast had won plaudits for James’ “no-nonsense method of talking about cancer”, has shared her experience of living with the sickness since her diagnosis in 2016, told BBC. 

After 5 Years Of Battle With Cancer Dame Deborah James Dies Aged 40

After proclaiming her treatment was to end, she launched the Bowelbabe fund which raised £1m in less than 24 hours and has gone on to raise more than £7m for the research into customized medicine for patients of cancer. 

A family member of her said James share her experience of cancer to “raise awareness, break down hurdlers, challenge taboos, and transform the conversation across cancer”

“Even during her most challenging moments of life, the determination of Deborah James to raise funds and awareness was so inspirational” they added further. 

Bowel Cancer UK, of which Deborah James was a patron, said she had turned her bowel cancer diagnosis “into an unbelievable force for good” and would save numerous lives through her campaigning. 

Cancer Campaigner Dame Deborah James Dies At 40

In addition, James frankly detailed her treatments, diagnosis, and progress to her great Instagram following, which mounted from 300,000 to 500,000 towards the end of her life. 

On 10th May, in an Instagram post, James said she had never predicted to reach her 40th birthday or see her children go to secondary school. 

She efficiently described how her health had worsened over the past six months and said she was no longer getting active care. She had moved to the hospice at home, where she was sleeping calmly most days and besieged to walk. In addition, she also said she had left “no stone unturned” in the search for treatment, but that even a “magic new breakthrough” would not make the alteration. 

The second and final book of Deborah James, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, surpassed the Amazon UK bestsellers list on preorders alone. The memoir-cum-self-help volume shot to the topmost of the charts within an individual day of James announcing on Instagram that it was conceivable to reserve a copy. James also released the clothing line, with proceeds going towards her Bowel Babe fund, and said her last farewells in a teary last arrival on You, Me, and the Big C.

Bowel Cancer Campaigner Deborah James Thanked Everyone In Farewell

As she and her producer rubbed away tears throughout the episode, entitled Deborah James’ Last Dance, she thanked listeners and commended them to watch for signs of bowel cancer – in her own characteristic manner.

She thanked every individual who presented for her and did everything for her, for being their partners in crime in the club that you never wanted to be part of. I presume that’s it from me. It’s a very miserable thing to say, but I’m delighted that I have got to the point where I can say it and we’ll see each other again anywhere, somehow, dancing. Oh, and also: check your poo.

“Deborah brought significant warmness, energy, and respectability to everything she did. Even throughout her most challenging times living with bowel cancer, she never stopped serving others.”

In her final weeks, the presenter of the BBC podcast You, I And The Big C raised millions of pounds for the research and was made a dame for her “tireless” work enhancing the awareness of the disease.

The former deputy headteacher was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and afterward kept her approximately 1 million Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.

For her fascinating and astonishing efforts, she was made a dame, saying she felt “honored and shocked” to even be measured for the honor.

In another surprise, James Damehood was conferred by the Duke of Cambridge who merged her family for afternoon tea and champagne at home.

Damehoods are frequently handed out by members of the royal family, entailing William, at investiture ceremonies which take place at royal palaces entailing Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.


BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark wrote: “You enthused so many and did the whole thing to the completest. No one can do more than that. Also, I hope we can have a gin wherever this all leads”.

In addition, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed her work, saying in a tweet that “the awareness she brought to bowel cancer and the research her campaigning has funded will be her continuing legacy.

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