Deborah James' incredible 'f*** you' to cancer battle revealed as Bowelbabe dies aged 40

Deborah James spent the latter part of her life campaigning and raising money to fight and beat cancer

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James has died at the age of 40, with a statement from her family released today confirming the tragic news.

In life, she worked tirelessly to remove any sense of embarrassment around bowel cancer.

Her incredible bravery even saw her walk down the street dressed as a poo emoji to encourage people to watch out for changes to their bowel movements.

She was widely praised for her heroic efforts, receiving plaudits from the likes of Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

Deborah James with Prince William
Deborah James with Prince William
Deborah James
Deborah James

James raised more than £6.6million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity through her Bowelbabe Fund on JustGiving.

Before her bowel cancer diagnosis, James was a deputy head teacher at Salesian School in Chertsey.

She later moved to the Matthew Arnold School in Staines-upon-Thames, before working as a journalist and columnist.

In March 2018, she began presenting the 'You, Me and the Big C' podcast alongside fellow cancer patients Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland.

And in October that year, she released the book 'F*** You Cancer: How to Face the Big C, Live Your Life and Still Be Yourself'.

After undergoing multiple treatments, James announced in June 2021 that her cancer was moving "in the wrong direction" and that her drug treatment was no longer effective.

She said she was "at rock bottom" as she confirmed "a rapidly growing tumour close to my liver has managed to wrap itself around my bile duct".

In May 2022, heartbreak struck as James announced she was receiving hospice-at-home care.

In a moving Instagram post, she said: "My body just can't continue anymore."

James said her cancer was no longer being actively treated and instead the focus was on ensuring she was not in pain – allowing her to spend time with her "incredible family", who were all around her.

Deborah James
Deborah James
Deborah James
Deborah James

She said: "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."

Less than two days after her post, more than £3million was raised for her campaign, the Bowelbabe Fund.

Just 48 hours later, she was awarded a Damehood.

This was conferred on her by Prince William at her family home.

William said her Damehood had been an "amazing" experience for her family, as well as nursing staff who had cared for her.

The Duke of Cambridge joked: "As she put it, she made bowel cancer sexy."