Deborah James: This was her last message to fans

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Campaigner and podcast host Dame Deborah James has died aged 40 after a relentless fight with bowel cancer. Following the podcaster's death, her Bowelbabe fund has been receiving an influx of tributes.

According to her family statement on Instagram, Deborah James passed away peacefully in the arms of her loved ones. The post read:

'We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, and mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.'

The post also included James' last words to her following, urging them to watch out for cancer symptoms and telling them to 'find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.'

Deborah James: This was her last message to fans

James is an inspirational podcaster

Born on October 1st, 1981, Deborah James developed a passionate interest in journalism. The TV personality rose to prominence as the host of the BBC Radio 5 You, Me, and the Big C podcast, which has been aired since 2018. She's also a famous journalist, author, podcaster, social campaigner, and entrepreneur, having made several on-screen appearances.

According to News Sky, James was diagnosed with incurable stage 4 bowel cancer back in 2016 when she was only 35 years old. Despite suffering from the chronic disease, the former English journalist still kept a relentlessly optimistic spirit and left no stones unturned to raise awareness of the condition on social media. In 2017, James began to write informative blogs about her diagnosis and published the book F*** You Cancer: How to Face the Big C, Live Your Life and Still Be Yourself. Before her death, she already had written the second book, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, which topped the Amazon chart through pre-orders.

Deborah James: This was her last message to fans SOPA Images

Her most notable work is the BBC podcast You, Me, and the Big C, in which she co-hosted with Lauren Mahon and the BBC Radio 5 live newsreader Rachael Bland to have open conversations with celebrities and shared about cancer. The show became widely famous, garnering praise from both the public and the media. The podcaster, with her sense of humor, managed to raise her large Instagram following' awareness of the treatments, progress, and diagnosis of cancer. Thanks to her dedication, James gained an impressive 900,000 followers on her social media accounts, who are inspired by her unfaltering battle with the deadly disease.

Her family's Instagram statement read:

'Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising, and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.'

She left behind a great legacy

In May 2022, the podcaster announced that her body couldn't endure anymore and that she would stop receiving active treatment. Instead, she would spend the rest of her life with her parents, husband Sebastien, and their two children. In her Instagram post that sparked an outpouring of emotions, James wrote:

'I am not brave - I am not dignified going towards my death - I am simply a scared girl who is doing something she has no choice in but I know I am grateful for the life that I have had.'

Deborah James could pride herself on her greatest legacy: the BowelBabe fund. The cancer research was initially set up to raise awareness of her condition, but as she announced her imminent death, James decided to raise money for research into personalized medicine for cancer patients, setting a target of 250,000 pounds. However, in her final days, the fund received an influx of donations and has raised well over $8.5 million.

Within 24 hours, her fans, colleagues, friends, and all those inspired by her spirit, mourned over the podcaster's death and continued to show their support for her charity work.

BBC radio presenter Chris Stark tweeted:

'I hope we can have a gin wherever this all leads. Thinking of your family and friends and everyone that is going through similar. Rest in Peace Debs x.'

According to Sky News, the BBC's director-general, Tim Davie, said:

'This is incredibly sad news. Dame Deborah James was a true inspiration. We're so proud to have worked with her at the BBC. The way she talked about and faced up to her cancer moved the nation, inspired change and undoubtedly saved lives.'
Deborah James: This was her last message to fans David M. Benett

Foxnews writes that in recognition of her dedication, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton conferred damehood to the podcaster in an unexpected visit to her family home. Damehoods are usually given by members of the royal family at royal, but only at royal venues including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The Duke of Cambridge also made a tweet, reflecting how influential James' efforts have been:

'Her legacy is massive. I was very honored to be able to speak to her. It felt like a very personal family moment that I was there for. It was a glorious day as well... She spoke very highly about her care. It was a touching moment... She is a brave and inspirational woman.'
© Dave M.Bennett

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