Dame Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK reaches £7 million

The podcast host and cancer campaigner has died aged 40

A fundraiser for Cancer Research UK set up by Dame Deborah James in the months leading up to her death has surpassed £7 million in donations.

The BBC podcast host and cancer campaigner passed away aged 40 on Tuesday 28 June.

Announcing her death in a post her Instagram page, James’ family wrote: “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 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.”

James devoted much of the last five years of her life to raising awareness of the disease and its symptoms after she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2016.

In May, the mother of two set up a JustGiving fundraiser, known as the Bowelbabe Fund, in a bid to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The fund came as James announced that she had moved to hospice-at-home care after her body stopped responding to treatment.

Donations to the fund, which had already raised more than £6 million in less than two months, subsequently earning her a damehood, have poured in since James’ death on Tuesday.

Money raised will be used for clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer.

In a statement, her family said they hope to continue James’ legacy through the fund.

“We will continue her legacy and support the causes Deborah was passionate about so that many more people benefit from new treatments and have more precious time with their loved ones,” they said.

James became a leading campaigner for bowel cancer awareness following her diagnosis and shared her experience on the BBC podcast, You, Me And The Big C, which she presented alongside Lauren Mahon and late broadcaster Rachael Bland.

She was also awarded a patronage of Bowel Cancer UK in February 2021 after raising more than £60,000 for the charity.

You can donate to Dame Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund here.

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