Deborah James fundraising initiative reaches £1m mark after 'goodbye' message

The podcast host revealed she was being moved to hospice care in her battle with bowel cancer

Published

A fund launched by podcast host Deborah James has raised more than £1 million in less than 24 hours since it was announced.

The popular presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C said in an Instagram post on Monday night that she had set up the Bowelbabe Fund as she told her followers she had been moved to hospice at home care to treat her terminal bowel cancer.

James was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and since then has kept her nearly 500,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments, with candid posts about her progress and diagnosis.

She said on Monday night that she did not know how long she has left, and that while the last six months have been “heartbreaking” to go through, she has been surrounded by “so much love” and has “no regrets”.

Deborah James
Deborah James

The Bowelbabe Fund page, launched on Just Giving, has raised more than £1.2 million since James posted about it on her Instagram page on Monday evening.

Writing about the fund, she said: “I always knew there was one thing I always wanted to do before I died.

“I have always over the years raised as much awareness and money for the charities that are closest to me. @cr_uk @royalmarsden @bowelcanceruk

“As a result, the @bowelbabefund is being established and I’d love nothing more than for you to help it flourish. Please visit bowelbabe.org for all the info and to donate (link in Bio).”

She added: “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.

Deborah James
Deborah James

“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 life saving research into cancer.

“To give more Deborah’s more time!”.

The former deputy headteacher started her Instagram post saying it was 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.

“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.

“I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore.”

The fund name echoes her social media handle, Bowelbabe, and is raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

The Just Giving page said it was “raising money to fund clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer”.