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Deborah James, host of Big C podcast, honoured with damehood

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Podcast host Deborah James has been honoured with a damehood simply days after revealing she is receiving end-of-life look after her bowel most cancers.

The mother-of-two has raised greater than £4m since Monday, when she launched a fund for others with most cancers after saying she had stopped therapy.

The host of the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast mentioned she was “blown away and crying” at being made a dame.

Dame Deborah, 40, is now being cared for at her mother and father’ home.

Damehoods and knighthoods are often introduced as a part of the New Year Honours or the Queen’s Birthday Honours. But, in distinctive circumstances, some are introduced at different occasions of the yr – as occurred with Captain Sir Tom Moore’s knighthood.

Downing Street confirmed the granting of the honour in a press launch, which mentioned: “The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned: “If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it. Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.

“Through her tireless campaigning and by so brazenly sharing her expertise she has not solely helped in our struggle in opposition to this horrible illness, she has ensured numerous others with the Big C haven’t felt alone.”

Dame Deborah began co-presenting You, Me and the Big C alongside Lauren Mahon and BBC Radio 5 Live newsreader Rachael Bland in 2018, with the show earning praise for its frank discussion of cancer.

They spoke to celebrity guests and addressed practical matters, including hair loss, tips for dealing with finances and telling your nearest and dearest about illnesses.

Bland died at the age of 40, six months after the show launched. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years earlier.

Dame Deborah has been praised for her no-nonsense approach to talking about cancer online, and has shared her experiences of treatment and daily life with her social media followers since her diagnosis in 2016.

Left-Right: Rachael Bland, Lauren Mahon And Deborah James

In an Instagram post on Monday, she revealed she did not know how long she had left to live after stopping treatment and moving to hospice-at-home care.

The former deputy headteacher said her liver had stopped working over the past six months and doctors had advised that more treatment was “fruitless”, adding her “physique doesn’t need to play ball”.

The podcaster told the BBC’s Graham Satchell she had gone to her parents’ home to spend her remaining time with her family because it was “the place I all the time wished to die”.

She explained this meant their family home in London could remain home for her children without the “medical tools scars” of their recollections.

She also announced the Bowelbabe fund, to fund research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and to support campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer.

The fund, named after her online social media handle, surpassed £1m in less than 24 hours – smashing her initial goal of £250,000.

Prince William and Catherine – who donated to James’ research fund – praised her “tireless efforts” in raising awareness of cancer as inspirational, and thanked her for “giving hope” to these living with the illness.


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