UK

Deborah James honoured with damehood after raising more than £3.7m

The You, Me and the Big C podcast host, 40, launched her BowelBabe cancer fund on Monday and within hours it surpassed its original target of £250,000.

James has inspired millions with by documenting her experience of having bowel cancer on social media using the moniker @BowelBabe.

And now the mother-of-two, who said on Monday that doctors do not know much how longer she has left to live, is being honoured with a Damehood for her inspirational fundraising efforts.

Reacting to the news, she 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.”

Her husband Seb told the publication: “She has campaigned tirelessly, often through adversity, and being recognised with a Damehood is something that she would never have dreamt of, but it is so truly deserved.”

Boris Johnson praised James, saying: “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.

“Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone. I hope this recognition from Her Majesty — backed I’m sure by the whole country — will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time.

“My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.”

Her story, which has gained the support of millions of people across the world, has also caught the attention of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who said on Wednesday evening that their thoughts are with her and her family.

The couple have also donated to James’s fund.

In a personal tweet written by William and Kate, they said: “Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society.

“@bowelbabe is one of those special people. Her tireless efforts to raise awareness of bowel cancer & end the stigma of treatment are inspiring.

“We are so sad to hear her recent update but pleased to support the @bowelbabef, which will benefit the @royalmarsdenNHS among others.

“Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer. W & C.”

On Monday, James penned a heartbreaking Instagram post revealing that “nobody knows how long I’ve got left”.

In the message to her supporters, she said her “body isn’t playing ball” and has now been moved to hospice at home care.

She 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.

“Nobody knows how long I’ve got left but I’m not unable 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.”

Alongside her post, Deborah announced the Bowelbabe fund for cancer research, which originally hoped to raise £250,000.

Witihin hours the total had surpassed the target, and currently stands at more than £3.7 million.

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