Christy Cooney and Jamie Grierson
Tue, 10 May 2022, 10:46 pm
The podcaster Deborah James has said she “cannot thank people enough” as a fundraiser for cancer research raised over £2m since she announced she had been moved to hospice at home care.
In a post on Monday, James, who has terminal bowel cancer, told followers on social media that she did not know “how long I’ve got left”.
The presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C said the last six months had been “heartbreaking” to go through, but that she had been surrounded by “so much love” and had “no regrets”.
The former deputy headteacher said she was setting up the Bowelbabe Fund, and shared links to charities including Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The JustGiving page had raised more than £2m by Tuesday night.
She told BBC Breakfast, in an interview due to be broadcast on Wednesday, that she feels “utterly loved” by the generosity. She said: “I had a figure in my mind of about a quarter of a million, because I thought that would be enough to fund a good couple of projects across the charities that I wanted to fund.
“But in 24 hours to do a million, I’m like absolutely mindblown and I just cannot thank people enough for their generosity. It just means so much to me. It makes me feel utterly loved.”
James was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and since then has kept her nearly 300,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments, progress and diagnosis.
On 14 December 2021, she marked five years since her diagnosis, writing on Instagram: “I’m fully aware I shouldn’t be alive to write this today.”
But in her latest post, she said: “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.”
The post continued: “Nobody knows how long I’ve got left but I’m not able to walk, I’m sleeping most of the days, and most things I took for granted are pipe dreams.”
James added that she had left “no stone unturned” in search of treatment, but that even a “magic new breakthrough” would not make a difference.
She wrote: “All I ask, if you ever read a column, followed my Instagram, listened to the podcast or saw me dressed as a poo for no reason, please buy me a drink to see me out this world, by donating the cost to @bowelbabefund which will enable us to raise funds for further lifesaving research into cancer. To give more Deborahs more time!”
She added: “Right now for me it’s all about taking it a day at a time, step by step and being grateful for another sunrise. My whole family are around me and we will dance through this together, sunbathing and laughing (I’ll cry!!) at every possible moment!
“You are all incredible, thank you for playing your part in my journey. No regrets. Enjoy life x Deborah.”