BBC Host Deborah James Awarded Damehood in Her Final Days: 'Blown Away and Crying'

·4-min read

Deborah James is officially a Dame!

The U.K. radio host was awarded Damehood on Thursday, per a release from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office, just days after she revealed she is in hospice amid her battle with bowel cancer.

"The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James," the release stated.

Johnson also praised James as he shared the news on Twitter.

"If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it. Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people," he wrote. "My thoughts are with Deborah and her family. She has the country's love and gratitude."

RELATED: BBC's Deborah James Records Final Podcast as She Stops Cancer Treatment and Starts Hospice Care

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Deborah James/Instagram

Reposting Johnson's message to her own Instagram Story, James — who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 — said that the recognition made her emotional.

"Blown away and crying at the honour," she wrote.

The BBC host also told The Sun, "OMFG, this is crazy. I don't know what to say. I'm blown away and feel incredibly honoured. I don't feel like I deserve this. I can't tell you what this means to my family, it's so much to take in."

RELATED: Kate Middleton and Prince William Pay Tribute to BBC Host Deborah James in Rare Personal Message

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Deborah James attends The Best Heroes Awards 2019 at The Bloomsbury Hotel on October 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Deborah James attends The Best Heroes Awards 2019 at The Bloomsbury Hotel on October 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Dave Benett/Getty

On Monday, James penned a heartbreaking "goodbye" as she revealed that she had been moved to hospice.

"The message I never wanted to write. We have tried everything, but my body simply isn't playing ball," James wrote. "My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I'm not in pain and spending time with them."

James, who shares children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, with her husband Sebastian Bowen, continued, "Nobody knows how long I've got left but I'm not able to walk, I'm sleeping most of the days, and most things I took for granted are pipe dreams. I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can't continue anymore."

RELATED VIDEO: BBC Host Deborah James Pens Emotional 'Goodbye' Message Revealing She Is Entering Hospice Care

She also shared information about her foundation Bowelbabe Fund, which she described as the "one thing I always wanted to do before I died."

She explained that it is currently "being established" and asked for fans' support in helping Bowelbabe Fund "flourish."

Since her announcement, Bowelbabe Fund has currently raised £3,884,306 (equivalent to approximately $4,742,000), bringing in more than $1 million in the first 24 hours.

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In her final podcast of BBC's You, Me & The Big C: Putting the Can in Cancer, she shared the place where she's "always wanted to die" after she stopped treatment.

"I decided that I want to be at my parents' because as much as I love London, I can't even get up the steps to pee. It's kind of not practical. My parents live in a bungalow so I can see greenery and my whole family can come here," James explained.

"It's kind of where I've always wanted to die," James added. "I kind of always had that in my mind."

Continued James: "I think I always knew I didn't want to be at my London home. I think mainly, it doesn't feel right to me. There's nothing that I can describe that feels relaxing in that capacity. Don't get me wrong it's a lovely place, but I also think it's not where I can be. But it means the kids can go back there and they don't have this medical equipment, gauze, placed everywhere. It can continue to be their home without those memories, which might possibly be a good thing."

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