Dame Deborah James, Cancer Campaigner And Podcast Host, Dies Aged 40

·3-min read
Dame Deborah James has died at the age of 40 (Photo: Ken McKayKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Dame Deborah James has died at the age of 40 (Photo: Ken McKayKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Dame Deborah James has died at the age of 40 (Photo: Ken McKayKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Cancer campaigner and podcast host Dame Deborah James has died at the age of 40, her family has announced.

Dame Deborah, who was known as Bowel Babe online, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, and in May revealed she was receiving end of life care at her parents’ home in Woking, with her husband Sebastien and their two children on hand.

A statement posted by her family on Instagram said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. 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 commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives. Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.

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

“And a few final things from Deborah…’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 was known for fronting the podcast You, Me And The Big C, which she co-founded with Lauren Mahon and the late Rachael Bland.

She was awarded a Damehood by the Duke of Cambridge at her home for her “tireless campaigning” efforts in May, after raising millions of pounds for cancer charities.

The campaigner has been increasing awareness of bowel cancer for years and raised more than £6.7 million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity through her Bowelbabe fund on JustGiving.

Dame Deborah with her brother Benjamin James at Royal Ascot 2022 (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
Dame Deborah with her brother Benjamin James at Royal Ascot 2022 (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Dame Deborah with her brother Benjamin James at Royal Ascot 2022 (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Last month, Dame Deborah announced she had written another book, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, documenting what she has learned about having a positive mindset when faced with life’s biggest challenges.

Despite not being due to be published until August, the book shot to number one on the Amazon list through pre-orders, with her royalties going towards her Bowelbabe Fund.

She followed this up by releasing a clothing line with In The Style, with 100% of the profits going towards the cancer charity.

Deborah, pictured in 2019, raised millions of pounds for cancer charities (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
Deborah, pictured in 2019, raised millions of pounds for cancer charities (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Deborah, pictured in 2019, raised millions of pounds for cancer charities (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Dame Deborah made her last TV appearance in a recent episode of E4’s Embarrassing Bodies, where she encouraged “smashing taboos” associated with bowel movements as it may “save lives” by helping people recognise bowel cancer symptoms.

Recorded when was still in hospital, she said: “We all poo, our favourite celebrities poo! Let’s kind of break down, smash those taboos because quite frankly, that is going to save lives. Let’s spread the word.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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