The History of Deborah James' Fearless Campaign to Raise Bowel Cancer Awareness
In her final days, Deborah James is raising awareness for bowel cancer.
The U.K. radio host, 40, recently announced that her Bowelbabe Fund has brought in £5 million (equivalent to over $6 million), a journey that first began when she was diagnosed in 2016.
After her diagnosis, she joined forces with organizations like Cancer Research UK, Marsden Cancer Charity, and Bowel Cancer U.K. In February 2021, she was officially named a patron of Bowel Cancer U.K. after supporting them in multiple fundraisers and wore a poop-emoji costume to share the news.
Running in the Race for Life marathons for Cancer Research UK, James raised more than £200,000 (equivalent to more than $245,000) for the foundation in 2019.
James has been candid and open about living with the illness on social media (her Instagram handle is @bowelbabe), her Bowelbabe blog and on her BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C: Putting the Can in Cancer.
She introduced her own Bowelbabe Fund on Instagram Monday, which she said was birthed "as a result" of the work she's done for bowel cancer awareness over the years.
In the same post, she penned a "goodbye" message and revealed that she is now in hospice. James said she doesn't know how long she has left to live but hopes the Bowelbabe Fund will "enable us to raise funds for further life saving research into cancer. To give more Deborah's more time!" she wrote.
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In Bowelbabe Fund's first Instagram post earlier this week, it shared that it has partnered with Cancer Research UK in "raising money to fund clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer."
Within 24 hours of launching her Bowelbabe Fund, James was able to raise more than $1 million.
"I'm absolutely mind blown," James told BBC Tuesday of the milestone. "I just cannot thank people enough for their generosity. It just means so much to me. It makes me feel utterly loved. But it makes me feel like we're all kind of in it at the end together and we all want to make a difference and say, 'You know what? Screw you cancer.' You know, we can do better."
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She continued, "We can do better for people and we just need to show it who's boss."
"Over the last five years I've campaigned, I've spoken about awareness, I've shared my story for a reason -- the laughs, the giggles, sharing that you can live with cancer, unveiling what cancer can look like ... but ultimately what I really want to happen is I don't want any other Deborahs to have to go through this. We know that when we catch cancer early, we can cure it."
On Friday, James revealed on Instagram that her Bowelbabe Fund had raised more than $6 million within its first five days after receiving "an incredibly generous donation."
"We're completely lost for words. This is all just beyond anything we could have ever imagined. The last 5 days have been surreal. Thank you for putting a huge smile on my face, and helping us to launch a legacy to hopefully impact a lifetime cutting edge cancer care," she wrote.