Dame Deborah James, whose campaigns and fundraising around bowel cancer changed societal perceptions of the disease and raised countless donations for charity, has sadly died at the age of 40, her family have confirmed. The news was confirmed in an emotional post on Instagram, which described Deborah as "the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy".
Alongside an image and video of Deborah wearing a white dress and dancing while on holiday, her family described her as an "inspiration" whose "work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives."
The full statement read:
"Dame Deborah James.
"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, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.
"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.
"We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund
"Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.
"And a few final things from Deborah…“find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.” x
("Shared with Deborah’s permission)"
In May earlier this year, Deborah shared the news that she had moved into end-of-life hospice care at home. She shared an Instagram post with her supporters saying, "The message I never wanted to write. We have tried everything, but my body simply isn’t playing ball. My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them."
Following this announcement, Deborah also confirmed that she'd written her next book How To Live When You Could Be Dead and launched the Bowel Babe fund, which at the time of writing, has over £6 million worth of donations.
Our thoughts our with all of Deborah's loved ones at this deeply sad time.
To learn more about bowel cancer, including the symptoms, visit Bowel Cancer UK
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