‘I’ve given my blessing for this episode to run if I’m gone – if it saves one life it is worth it’: Dame Deborah James will make a final TV appearance on Embarrassing Bodies with an emotional appeal to check for signs of bowel cancer
- Deborah James will make her final TV appearance on Embarrassing Bodies
- 40-year-old presenter gave blessing for show to air in the event of her death
- The mother-of-two has been battling stage four bowel cancer for five years
- BBC podcaster set up fundraiser for Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK
Cancer-stricken BBC podcaster Deborah James will make her final TV appearance on Embarrassing Bodies.
The presenter, 40, who is receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer, filmed an episode of the show earlier this year and has given her blessing for the programme to be aired in the event of her death.
In emotional scenes, the mother-of-three will tell young people her story to raise awareness of the disease while pressing her ‘check your poo’ message.
The mother-of-two – who set up the fundraiser for Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK which has now surpassed £6million in donations – told The Sun: ‘I might not live to see the episode air but I hope the message to ‘Check your poo’ will live on, long after I’m gone.
‘It might be embarrassing but it might just save your life. Early diagnosis of things like bowel cancer saves lives.
‘So don’t live to regret it, and don’t risk dying because you’re shy. I’ve given my blessing for this episode to run if I’m gone, if it helps save one life it will be worth it.’
The campaigner recently said she has started her ‘to-do death list’ to support son Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, when she is gone, and has urged her husband Sebastien Bowen to find love, with the caveat: ‘Don’t be taken for a ride, don’t marry a bimbo’.
Cancer-stricken BBC podcaster Deborah James will make her final TV appearance on Embarrassing Bodies
The presenter, 40, who is receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer, filmed an episode of the show earlier this year and has given her blessing for the programme to be aired in the event of her death
The campaigner recently said she has started her ‘to-do death list’ to support son Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, when she is gone, and has urged her husband Sebastien Bowen to find love, with the caveat: ‘Don’t be taken for a ride, don’t marry a bimbo’ Pictured: Deborah with her husband Sebastien Bowen in 2019
The nation has been moved by her tragic story in recent days, with at least £1million in donations now being made every day made on the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK page she set up. Today it surpassed £6million
Deborah says she has written letters for her children to help them with their first dates and wedding days, and will buy Hugo ‘a nice pen or wallet or cufflinks’ and Eloise ‘Tiffany bracelets and earrings’ to remember her – as well as some presents and postcards from her for the future.
And her funeral is also planned where she will be cremated, but she hopes her ashes will be kept in the family kitchen ‘for a while’ before being scattered.
The teacher turned podcaster has moved millions as she announced in a heartbreaking message that active treatment for her bowel cancer was stopping and that she was moving to hospice at home care to die.
The mother-of two is preparing to spend her final hours on her parents’ lawn surrounded by family, drinking Champagne, having been told by her hospice nurses: ‘You are dying, you can drink what you like.’
In a tearful final newspaper interview she said last night: ‘The one thing my family know is I am petrified of being alone. I don’t want to die alone.’ And when asked about the end of her life approaching she said: “I have moments when I just sob uncontrollably, but I can’t spend my last few days crying, it would be such a waste. So I’m trying to compartmentalise my death’.
It came as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to the cancer-stricken BBC podcaster, declaring that she has ‘captured the heart of the nation’, after her fundraiser passed £3.3million today and is rising at a rate of £1million every 24 hours.
Deborah James has written letters and bought gifts for her children Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, and wants to cuddle them for the last time before she dies
The mother-of-two – who set up the fundraiser for Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK which has now surpassed £6million in donations – told The Sun : ‘I might not live to see the episode air but I hope the message to ‘Check your poo’ will live on, long after I’m gone’
BBC podcast host Deborah James, who has incurable bowel cancer, revealed in April after she was discharged after more than a month in hospital. Pictured, leaving the Royal Marsden Hospital
The heartbreaking interview with The Times she also revealed how she will record letters for her children to open after she’s died, including advice for them on how to act on a first date or what to do on their wedding day.
Ms James said she’s been in hospital for months, but since undergoing hospice care, she has been planning her last hours on the lawn with her family and drinking champagne, as staff joked with her: ‘You are dying, you can drink what you like.’
The nation has been moved by her tragic story in recent days, with at least £1million in donations now being made every day to her Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK page, which she set up.
Ms James earlier spoke of wanting to die at her parents’ house in Woking, to spare son, Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, from constant reminders in their London home, which she won’t visit again because of the stairs. She said: ‘I can’t use my legs any more and I’m incredibly weak… my husband must lift me for everything’.
She explained how she’d had to break the news to the children, but put her full faith in husband Sebastien Bowen – a London banker she married back in 2008.
The couple briefly split up seven years later and began divorce proceedings, but soon got back together after agreeing to counselling to be on better terms for their children.
Deborah, who has incurable bowel cancer, revealed how she ‘nearly died’ in January in an ‘acute medical emergency’. She shared this photo from hospital
Speaking to The Times she revealed she has issued him with ‘strict instructions’ to her ‘incredible’ husband Sebastien Bowen to find love again after her death.
‘It’s been hideous telling my children. My husband Sebastien has been incredible, he has dropped everything and is with me 24/7. My first thought was [that] I don’t want my children to see me like this. I didn’t think I would be able to speak to them without crying, but I’d love one last cuddle with them.
‘We have had a string of emotional conversations that have escalated very quickly from supportive care to end-of-life care.
‘My husband Sebastien has been incredible, he has dropped everything and is with me 24/7.
‘My first thought was [that] I don’t want my children to see me like this. I didn’t think I would be able to speak to them without crying, but I’d love one last cuddle with them.’
In a tweet, William and Kate said: ‘Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society.
‘Bowelbabe is one of those special people. Her tireless efforts to raise awareness of bowel cancer & end the stigma of treatment are inspiring.
‘We are so sad to hear her recent update but pleased to support the Bowelbabe Fund, which will benefit the The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust among others.
‘Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer. W & C.’
HOW DEPUTY HEAD TURNED SOCIAL MEDIA STAR HAS TRANSFORMED BOWEL CANCER AWARENESS
In 2018, Deborah (left) joined Lauren Mahon (front) and Rachael Bland (right) to present the award-winning podcast You, Me and the Big C on Radio 5 Live. Bland tragically died of breast cancer on September 5th that year; her husband Steve Bland now co-presents the show
- In December 2016, the West London mother-of-two, a deputy head, was diagnosed ‘late’ with incurable bowel cancer
- After sharing her experiences on living with the disease on social media, Deborah became known as the ‘Bowel Babe’
- In 2018, she became one of three presenters on Radio 5 Live’s You, Me and the Big C, which was conceived by her late co-host Rachael Bland
- On September 5th 2018, Welsh journalist and presenter Bland, diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, died at the age of 40
- Deborah and her co-host Lauren Mahon continue to present the show, with Steve Bland, Rachael’s husband, joining the duo
- On social media and in her column for the Sun newspaper, Deborah has documented the many chemo, radiotherapy sessions and surgery she’s had since
During her treatment, Deborah told followers on Instagram ‘By my general lack of being on here (dancing!), that Things have moved (in the wrong direction) very quickly cancer wise.’ Pictured: Deborah James undergoing a scan at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London
- In 2019, she had a procedure known as CyberKnife, a highly targeted form of radiotherapy to attack an inoperable lymph node close to her liver
- The pandemic’s impact on cancer services saw her campaign for care to continue as normal and, earlier this year, she launched the ITV’s Lorraine’s ‘No Butts’ campaign, raising awareness on bowel cancer symptoms
- Since last year, she has been taking new experimental drugs as part of a trial after her oncology team gave her the green light to do so
- August, Deborah revealed that scans she’s had in recent days have revealed her cancer has gone in the ‘wrong direction very quickly’
- She told followers she would be taking a break on social media over the weekend to ‘snuggle’ with her family ahead of more scans
- The mother-of-two said a new ‘rapidly-growing’ tumour near her liver had wrapped itself around her bowel
- On October 1, Deborah celebrates her 40th birthday
- By October 18, the mother-of-two told her followers her chemotherapy is working
- Days later, she was rushed to A&E with ‘spiking 40 degree temperatures’
- In November, she reveals she is unable to walk for more than 20 minutes and remains ‘very weak’
- By December, Deborah said she was ‘not sure what her options were’ after her liver stent ‘stopped working’
- In January, she had five operations in 10 days after nearly dying in an acute medical emergency
- January 25, Deborah returns home from hospital after three weeks
- March 14, the mother-of-two is back in hospital as an in-patient after suffering from septic infection
- In April, she concerned fans with snaps after suffering ‘a rough few days’
- April 14, the mother-of-two tells fans she has been discharged from hospital but calls the situation ‘very tough’
- April 27, she tells Lorraine that she has spent ’80 per cent’ of the year in hospital
- May 9 – Deborah announces she has moved to hospice care
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