Deborah James’ family give heartfelt update on Dame’s final mission as she has one last girly sleepover with loved ones


THE family of Dame Deborah James has issued a heartfelt update on her final mission.

Sun writer Deborah has been receiving at-home hospice care since the start of May.

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This week Deborah was able to enjoy a sleep over with her family. Sister Sarah, mum Heather, daughter Eloise and her two niecesCredit: bowelbabe/Instagram
Deborah James has been raising money for the BowelBabe fund since the start of this month

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Deborah James has been raising money for the BowelBabe fund since the start of this month
Deborah pictured with her husband Sebastien, daughter Eloise and son Hugo

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Deborah pictured with her husband Sebastien, daughter Eloise and son Hugo

Debs today admitted she has been struggling with the side effects of sleeping pills, but revealed she had been able to enjoy a sleepover with her nearest and dearest.

As she continues to make memories, the 40-year-old has had a rose named after her, launched a fashion collection and even had her very own Lego mini-me sent to her.

While she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through these partnerships, her biggest passion and mission to date is the BowelBabe fund.

The podcaster has so far raised over £6.6million for charities such as Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden.

In an update on the fund’s Instagram page today, the campaigner’s family thanked everyone for their donations.

TO DONATE to BowelBabe Fund visit www.bowelbabe.org

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“Through donations, fundraising and partnerships we are all continuing to raise an incredible amount of money that will help give more Deborah’s more time.

“All money raised will be allocated, with the support of CRUK to funding causes and projects such as: funding clinical trials and research into personalised medicine that could result in new treatments for cancer patients.”

They highlighted that this includes projects in collaboration with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden.

On top of this, the money will go towards continued support to raise awareness of cancer, such as Bowel Cancer UK’s Never Too Young campaign.

The family added: “Thank you all so much for your continued support, and if you’ve donated, bought a book, T-Shirt or rose, or held a bake sale, fundraised, or shared Deborah’s story.

“You are all incredible, and we are totally blown away by you all.”

As donations continue to rise, Deborah this week revealed the struggle of trying to make memories in her final days.

As the days go on, the mum-of-two said she has been ‘feeling awful’.

Posting to Instagram this afternoon, she revealed that her sister had organised a girly sleep over for her, her mum Heather, daughter Eloise and Debs’ nieces.

I’m getting less and less able to leave the house, or bed really now, so was feeling pretty down about it

Deborah James

Debs said: “Posting to Instagram she said: “Making memories can be hard when you are dying! Oh the pressure!

“I’m now only getting some very grabbed hours between the sleeping and side effects, but this girly sleepover managed to put such a smile to my face having spent most of yesterday in tears!

“I’m getting less and less able to leave the house, or bed really now, so was feeling pretty down about it. Or do anything for that matter!”

She praised local Woking company teepeevibetribe for putting the special evening together with just three hours notice.

Dame Debs said she had been feeling awful after a bad day, so hadn’t watched any of the party being set up and had been crying over leaking drains next door.

“But with the help of my sister and bro, managed to calm down and then they wheeled me into the room last night and yes I cried over the fairy lights! Good tears! It was just perfect!

“I went from staying in my wheelchair to ending up everyone helping to get me into an actual tee pee to watch Cinderella with the gang and sit there like a 5 year old with a huge Cheshire Cat smile on my face next to my daughter and sister!”

Debs said her sister had booked the experience as a regular customer, but that the brand had kindly refused payment.

Therefore, Debs, ever the fundraiser, donated the cost to the BowelBabe Fund.

  • To pre-order Deborah’s book visit Amazon
  • Her T-shirt is still available through In the Style in sizes 6-28
  • The Dame Deborah James rose, Bare Root, is available at World of Roses

The signs of bowel cancer you need to know – remember BOWEL

  1. B:Bleeding

There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, of blood in your poo.

Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, haemorrhoids or piles, in your back passage.

Dark red or black blood could come from your bowel or stomach.

Blood in your stools is one of the key signs of bowel cancer, so it’s important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.

2. O: Obvious change in loo habits

It’s important to tell your GP if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits, that lasts three weeks or longer.

It’s especially important if you have also noticed signs of blood in your poo.

You might notice you need to go to the loo more often, you might have looser stools or feel like you’re not going enough or fully emptying your bowels.

Don’t be embarrassed, your GP will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and get it checked.

3. W: Weight loss

This is less common than the other symptoms, but an important one to be aware of. If you’ve lost weight and don’t really know why, it’s worth mentioning to your GP.

You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.

4. E: Extreme tiredness

Bowel cancer that causes bleeding can cause a lack of iron in the body – anaemia. If you develop anaemia you’re likely to feel tired and your skin might look pale.

5. L: Lump or pain

As with lots of other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.

It’s most likely you’ll notice a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage.

See your GP if it doesn’t go away, or if it affects how you eat or sleep

Since her diagnosis in 2016, Debs has been passionate about raising awareness of bowel cancer.

Alongside the fund, one of her projects is a book that is set to come out later this year, which has already reached the top of the Amazon charts.

On May 18, Debs said the publishing date of the book had been moved forward as she’s got “a few things to share” before she dies.

The book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, was originally due to be released next year – but will now be published on August 18.

Debs previously said: “It’s been a labour of love! And I think people will might find it surprising – it’s certainly not a follow on to book one.

“It’s all about mindset and how the learnings of a positive mindset might help you even in the darkest moments.”

Revealing the book to her loyal Instagram followers, she said the title was “ironic”.

“I wanted to share all my (hard-won!!) learning on how to have a positive mindset when we are faced with life’s biggest challenges,” she said.

In the face of these challenges, Debs also helped get the laws around bowel cancer screening changed.

Fronting The Sun’s bowel cancer campaign, Deborah helped put pressure on the Government to change the law, lowering the screening age from 60 to 50.

Part of early diagnosis is knowing the signs and it was last week revealed that M&S will start to print the symptoms of the condition on the back of its toilet rolls.

The retailer is also set to display signage throughout their stores.

Debs has always been clear, check your poo and don’t make it a taboo.

The idea for the loo roll came about after M&S staff member Cara Hoofe was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2016 aged 32.

She was inspired to put forward the idea by Debs after seeing all the work she has done to raise awareness.

Deborah James' family give update as she has one last girly sleepover
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Around 60 per cent of people are diagnosed at later stages when it is much more difficult to treat.

Part of the problem is low awareness of the red flag symptoms of bowel cancer that should prompt people to contact their GP.  

Deborah and her nearest and dearest donned pink PJs for the girly sleepover

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Deborah and her nearest and dearest donned pink PJs for the girly sleepoverCredit: bowelbabe/Instagram
Deborah's family posted an update today and thanked her followers for all their donations

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Deborah’s family posted an update today and thanked her followers for all their donationsCredit: Instagram

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