Dame Deborah James dies at age 40 after battle with colon cancer

Dame Deborah James has died aged 40 after battling colon cancer – Paul Grover for the Telegraph

Dame Deborah James has passed away at the age of 40 after a battle with colon cancer that captured the hearts of the nation.

The mother of two “passed away peacefully on Tuesday,” her family said in a statement.

Dame Deborah, known as Bowel Babe, received a Damehood last month delivered personally by Prince William to her family home in Surrey.

The BBC podcast host raised more than £6.75 million for cancer after revealing she was receiving end-of-life care in early May.

In a statement last night, her family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dame Deborah James; the most wonderful wife, daughter, sister, mom. Deborah passed away peacefully today surrounded by her family.

“Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and dedication to charity campaigns, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that has touched so many lives.”

‘Take risks, love intensely, have no regrets’

The statement added: “Deborah shared her experience with the world raising awareness, breaking down barriers, challenging taboos and changing the conversation about cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and raise awareness was inspiring.

“Thank you for giving us time privately as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy well into the future through the @bowelbabefund. Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.

“And a few last things from Deborah…”Find a life worth enjoying; Take risks; deeply grounded love; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hopes. And finally, check your poop – it could save your life.”

Deborah James with her kids Hugo and Eloise as they go to high school

Deborah James with her kids Hugo and Eloise as they go to high school

In early May, she revealed she had withdrawn from active treatment and was receiving end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Woking, accompanied by her husband Sebastien and their two children.

The former deputy director was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and went on to keep her nearly one million Instagram followers updated about her treatments.

Dancing her way through the treatment

Her candid posts about her progress and diagnosis, including videos of her dancing her way through treatment, have been praised by the public and media alike.

Together with Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, she launched the podcast You, Me And The Big C in 2018.

The trio, all former or current cancer patients, candidly discussed life, treatment, and other topics related to cancer.

Bland died in September of that year at age 40, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Deborah James pictured last year - Heathcliff O'Malley

Deborah James pictured last year – Heathcliff O’Malley

Dame Deborah announced in early May 2022 that she will receive end-of-life home care.

“The tweet I never wanted to write,” she said on Twitter.

“It’s time to say goodbye. 5 years of preparation doesn’t make it easy.”

After making the announcement, she set up the Bowelbabe Fund, which raised more than £6 million – more than 24 times her original goal of £250,000.

‘Honored and shocked’

She was made a lady for her efforts, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying, “If ever there was an honor richly deserved, this is it.”

Dame Deborah later said she felt “honoured and shocked” to even be considered for the honor.

Another surprise was that her damehood was awarded by the Duke of Cambridge, who joined her family at home for afternoon tea and champagne.

Prince William presents Deborah James with a damehood medal at home

Prince William presents Deborah James with a damehood medal at home

Damehoods are usually awarded by members of the royal family, including William, during investiture ceremonies that take place in royal palaces, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

She also revealed that she had completed her second book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, which is due out on August 18.

Her first book, F—You Cancer: How To Face The Big C, Live Your Life And Still Be Yourself, was published in 2018.

Leave a Comment