Deborah James says she feels ‘utterly loved’ as cancer fund she set up hits £2m

Cancer fund set up by podcast host has received more than £2m in donations

Naomi Clarke
Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:39
<p>Deborah James, who campaigns for bowel cancer awareness and fundraising, has moved into hospice care</p>

Deborah James, who campaigns for bowel cancer awareness and fundraising, has moved into hospice care

Podcast host Deborah James said she is “absolutely mind blown” by people’s generosity as hundreds of thousands of pounds have been donated to the cancer fund she launched.

The popular presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C announced on Monday she had set up the Bowelbabe Fund as she disclosed she has moved to hospice-at-home care to treat her terminal bowel cancer.

The fund on Tuesday night hit £2m, a figure which James earlier admitted has exceeded all her expectations and made her feel “utterly loved”.

In a clip shared from an interview due to be broadcast on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday, she said: “I had a figure in my mind of about a quarter of a million, because I thought that would be enough to fund a good couple of projects across the charities that I wanted to fund.

“But in 24 hours to do a million, I’m like absolutely mind blown and I just cannot thank people enough for their generosity.

“Because it just means so much to me. It makes me feel utterly loved.

“It makes me feel like we’re all kind of in it at the end together and we all want to make a difference.”

James was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and since then has kept her nearly 500,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments, with candid posts about her progress and diagnosis.

The podcast host said she “always knew” she wanted to set up the fund before she died, and had she known what little time she had she would have set it up six months ago.

She hopes that the fund will continue working on some of the things that helped her life, such as innovative drug studies.

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James added: “Ultimately, what I really want to happen is, I don’t want any other Deborah’s to have to go through this.”

In the Instagram post on Monday, she said she did not know how long she has left, and that while the last six months have been “heartbreaking” to go through, she has been surrounded by “so much love” and has “no regrets”.

Writing about the fund, she said: “I have always over the years raised as much awareness and money for the charities that are closest to me. @cr_uk @royalmarsden @bowelcanceruk

“As a result, the @bowelbabefund is being established and I’d love nothing more than for you to help it flourish. Please visit bowelbabe.org for all the info and to donate (link in Bio).”

The former deputy headteacher also wrote her last column in The Sun on Tuesday, opening it by saying this was the one she “never wanted to write. My final one”.

James reflected on her journey, noting: “The last six months have arguably been the hardest of my whole cancer journey”.

She explained that the “unrelenting medicalisation” of her body has been “heartbreaking” and that her moments out of hospital and pain free have become more and more rare.

The podcast host is now in end-of-life hospice care at home, where they are focusing on making her comfortable so she can have the “best quality death” that she can.

She added: “I do not want to die – I can’t get my head around the idea that I will not see my kids’ weddings or see them grow up – that I will no longer be a part of life that I love so much.

“I am not brave – I am not dignified going towards my death – I am simply a scared girl who is doing something she has no choice in but I know I am grateful for the life that I have had.”

You can donate to James’ fundraising page here.

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