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Uncategorized

‘A beacon, lighting the way’ – Tributes pour in for Dame Deborah James

today29 June 2022

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Tributes have been pouring in for Dame Deborah James after her family announced she has died aged 40 following a six year battle with bowel cancer. Dame Deborah has been hailed for the ‘tremendous legacy’ she leaves behind and as a ‘beacon, lighting the way’ for others with cancer.

The podcast host and mother of two became known as Bowelbabe after sharing her journey on social media. Dame Deborah died on Tuesday (June 28) after being diagnosed in 2016 and is being remembered by charities, celebrities and many whose lives have also been affected.

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Dame Deborah leaves a “tremendous legacy”. She said: “She never stopped raising awareness. Bowel cancer is something people find difficult to talk about often and don’t really … they find it a little bit embarrassing.

Read more: Tributes to Dame Deborah James lead by Boris Johnson

“She’s stripped all of that away and shone a powerful light on it.” Teresa Whitfield, who was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer after seeing Dame Deborah talking about symptoms on TV, told the programme that Dame Deborah saved her life.

Asked what she would say to Dame Deborah’s family, Ms Whitfield, now cancer free, said: “I think I actually have only one word which is thank-you. Without her, I don’t think I would be here today. Her campaigning is critical and we, as bowel cancer patients, as bowel cancer survivors, and as anybody who thinks they might have bowel cancer, we have to carry on with the legacy that she has.

“We have to carry on campaigning to raise awareness.” BBC TV presenter George Alagiah, who was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in 2014, said Dame Deborah was “a beacon, lighting the way for us all of us #livingwithcancer”.

He tweeted: “Knowing that @bowelbabe Dame Deborah James was nearing the end of her journey here does not make her passing any easier to accept. She was a beacon, lighting the way for all of us #livingwithcancer. Thank you for your example. Deborah, rest in peace now.”

Dame Deborah spent her final weeks receiving end-of-life care at home with her husband Sebastien and their two children. The presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C, raised almost £7 million for research.

She was made a dame for her work improving awareness of the disease. Dame Deborah announced that in May she had stopped active treatment and was spending her time at her parents home in Woking.

BBC presenter Adele Roberts, who was being treated for bowel cancer but announced this week she is “free of cancer”, wrote on Instagram: “My heart hurts. Thank you for everything Deborah. Thank you for being so strong for so long and helping others when you were in so much pain yourself.

“You are the best of us. Thinking of your family and friends and I am forever grateful to you for helping me and my family.” She ended her post quoting a slogan that appeared on a t-shirt which was part of Dame Deborah’s fashion collaboration with In The Style. Roberts wrote: “Rebellious hope forever.”

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly became emotional as she hosted a tribute to Dame Deborah James on her ITV show. Wearing a pink jacket, a nod to Dame Deborah’s favourite colour, and a t-shirt with the words “Rebellious Hope” on it, which had became Dame Deborah’s slogan, Kelly held back tears as she spoke to Steve Bland.

Dame Deborah co-hosted the You, Me And The Big C podcast with Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland. Bland died in September 2018 aged 40 after treatment for breast cancer, and her widower Steve became a regular on the show. He told Lorraine that Dame Deborah had “done so much, we’re so proud of her”.

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity also paid tribute to Dame Deborah in a post on their website, saying: “Deborah was an absolute inspiration to so many people with cancer, and a passionate supporter of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. We are hugely grateful for her support.”

They added: “Behind the scenes, Deborah would take the time to chat to other patients on social media and offer her advice and support. For someone who loved to get dressed up and speak publicly, much of what Deborah did for the cancer community was actually quiet, understated, and from the chemo chair or in the middle of the night.

“She will be hugely missed by everyone in The Royal Marsden.” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Good Morning Britain: “Her loss at such a young age is clearly tragic, but the work she did to raise awareness of bowel cancer and of course the immense amount of money she raised will make such a difference, and my thoughts are with her family today.”

People of Nottingham have also been sharing their messages. Lucy Sampson wrote: “My condolences to her family. I lost my mum to bowel cancer six years ago and the world/my life just hasn’t been the same since.”

Angela Gould said: “So sad, she fought so hard. Rest in peace beautiful lady xx.” Steve GoneXow added: “A stunning example of how to take on this vile disease. My fight goes on still after three years. RIP Debs.”

Her death was announced yesterday with a message saying she had passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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