Deborah James ‘shines such big light’, says friend and podcast host Lauren Mahon

Cancer campaigner and podcast host Lauren Mahon has said her friend Dame Deborah James still “shines such a big light” despite receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer.

Mahon, 37, and Dame Deborah, 40, launched the You Me And The Big C podcast in 2018 with Rachel Bland. The trio, who were all former or current cancer patients, candidly discussed life with, treatment of and other topics relating to cancer.

Mahon, who has been cancer free for five years, told Good Morning Britain she is “heartbroken” that her friend is receiving end-of-life care, three-and-a-half years after fellow host Bland died from breast cancer.

She said: “I’m heartbroken. We all are. Anyone who loves Deb, or is close to Deb is, people who have never met her are.

“But, what this week has done is just given us some pure joy to cling on to, and only Deb could do that in the darkest of times, shine such a big light. We’re all so proud.”

Dame Deborah, known online as Bowel Babe, was honoured with a damehood on Friday, after the Duke of Cambridge visited her family home.

She was honoured for her “tireless campaigning” to raise awareness of bowel cancer, after raising more than £6 million through her online fundraiser for cancer charities.

Having set her original goal at £250,000, Dame Deborah has so far raised more than 24 times her target.

Speaking about her friend becoming a dame, Mahon said: “It’s nothing less than she deserves.

“We’re just so happy that she’s getting to embrace all of this and see the impact she’s made.

“One thing we know for certain now is Deb knows how loved she is, and what more could you want for her?”

Mahon joked with hosts Susanne Reid and Richard Madeley, saying: “I know for her it was a very, very special and surreal day. I don’t think she will even believe it’s true, she’ll probably think it’s some lucid dream she had.

“Of course there was royalty in Deborah James’s parents’ house, of course!”

After explaining that Dame Deborah was watching the ITV breakfast show, Mahon spoke directly to her friend, saying: “I won’t get cringy Deb because I know that you hate that, but on national television, I’m going to tell you that I love you very much and that we couldn’t be prouder of you.

“And just be proud of yourself and know what you do for so many people, because we love you.”

Good Morning Britain airs every week day on ITV at 6am.