Dame Deborah James, the podcast host and advocate who campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of bowel cancer, has died aged 40 with her family by her side.
The You, Me, And The Big C presenter, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, revealed to her Instagram followers in early May that she had stopped active treatment and had moved to hospice care at her parent’s home.
At the same time, the mother-of-two also shared that she had set up a fundraiser, The Bowelbabe Fund, to raise money and awareness for the charities close to her heart.
The fund was named after the Instagram handle that she used as a means of sharing her experiences and raising awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer.
As part of her tireless fundraising, James teamed up with fashion brand In The Style to launch a charity T-shirt, with all of the proceeds going to the BowelBabe Fund.
The £15 T-shirt features her famous ‘Rebellious Hope’ slogan emblazoned across the front, and is still available to buy now, with 100% of profits (minimum of £7.08 per T-shirt) from the sale of each going directly to her fund.
The 100% cotton T-shirt – which is available in four colours, navy, white, pink and black with gold foil – has an oversized fit suitable for both men and women.
It was the first item in a collaborative collection with In The Style, which was released exclusively on the In The Style app at the end of May.
Previous to the launch of her collection, James revealed on Instagram that she wore one of the dresses when she met Prince William who personally delivered her damehood to her family home.
“I’m so excited to finally be able to share (at least part) of a project I’ve been working on for several months now," she wrote on Instagram. "Together with the @inthestyle team I’ve been creating and designing a collection of beautiful clothes to hopefully make us all look good and feel great!!!
“The main collection isn’t quite ready yet, although some of you will have noticed recently I’ve been sporting a whole host of beautiful floral dresses – which I can confirm were worn for my visit from Prince William!”
The BBC podcaster went on to explain how channelling her creativity into the collection for the last few months has provided a welcome distraction from her gruelling treatment.
“I cannot tell you guys how this partnership has kept me going through my hospital stays and taken me away from cancer," she added. "For years, I always talked about ‘Dressing up to make you feel better’ and over recent months all the ups and downs, being in and out of hospital, dressing up in nice clothes and popping on some Lippy has made a difference to my journey.”
The forthcoming collection – which is still scheduled to be released by the brand in the coming months – is described as perfectly encapsulating the British summertime - with outfits perfect for Wimbledon, The Races, garden parties and Pimms in the park: all activities that Dame Deborah has enjoyed taking part in.
“The reason why I wanted to do this collection with In The Style is because it has been something totally different to cancer for me," James added in a press release.
"I love fashion and anyone who knows me or has followed me for years knows I love my dresses and I am always hunting for the best prints.
“When we started work on this collection, I didn’t realise that I’d be living a hybrid life between home and hospital, and even from hospital, we’ve made this happen. It has been a project that I have really enjoyed, and above all, it has given me something else to think about.
“I really hope you love it as much as I loved designing it. I hope it brings you joy and it makes you feel great when you put it on.”
In The Style founder Adam Frisby added: “Although I wish I was saying this under different circumstances, I am incredibly proud of this collaboration with Dame Deborah.
"I’ve followed Deborah for a long time and her constant positivity, uplifting spirit and just overall mentality of living her life to the full and making every day count is an inspiration to me, my team and everyone else who has come across her journey.
“I noticed how much she loved dressing up and how clothes made her feel more confident - so together we’ve made sure this collection encapsulates all of that - a range that is all about ‘dressing up to feel better’ and that stands for anyone no matter what your situation is.
"The team at In The Style have done everything they can to ensure Dame Deborah could see the release of this range, and I’m so incredibly proud of what Dame Deborah has created and everything it stands for.
“It goes without saying that we wanted to donate all profits made from this collection directly to The BowelBabe Fund, to help others going through a similar journey”.
The BowelBabe Fund for Cancer Research UK was founded by Dame Deborah and her family to help fund clinical trials and research into new treatments for cancer patients, all while raising awareness of bowel cancer.
In less than one week, The BowelBabe Fund raised more than £6,000,000 in donations.
Watch: 'Unfalteringly Brave': Prince William and Kate Middleton pay tribute to Deborah James