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Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund raises more than £2m for cancer research

Podcast host Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund has so far raised more than £2m for Cancer Research UK (Ian West/PA)
Podcast host Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund has so far raised more than £2m for Cancer Research UK (Ian West/PA)

Podcast host Deborah James has said there is no stone that “we haven’t tried to turn” as she spoke from her parents’ house where she is receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer.

The much-loved presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C revealed on Monday in an Instagram post that, while they have “tried everything”, her body simply is not “playing ball”.

She has set up the Bowelbabe Fund, which has so far raised more than £2 million since it was announced at the beginning of the week.

The 40-year-old campaigner told BBC Breakfast: “You know, I always said to you I don’t want to leave a stone unturned.

“I don’t think there is a stone that we haven’t tried to turn in order to make my liver work again, in order to kind of get my body functioning, but unfortunately I’m exhausted, I’m absolutely exhausted.

“We’ve got to the point now where I just… I know I can’t really do anything more.”

The former deputy headteacher was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and since then has kept her more than 500,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments, with candid posts about her progress and diagnosis, including videos of her dancing her way through treatment.

The podcast host said she “always knew” she wanted to set up the fund before she died, and, had she known what little time she had left, she would have set it up six months ago.

She hopes the fund will continue working on some of the things that helped her life, such as innovative drug studies.

Speaking about her family, the mother-of-two said: “I have a really loving family who I adore and couldn’t… I honestly, like… they’re just incredible.

“All I knew I wanted was to come here and be able to relax, knowing that everything was OK. We’ve had some really, really hard conversations in the last week.

“You think ‘Gosh, how can anybody have those conversations?’ and then you just… you find yourself in the middle of them, and people are very nice but you’re almost… you’re talking about your own death, and I’ve had five years to prepare for my death.

“I don’t feel begrudged, I don’t feel angry that I haven’t tried anything, I don’t feel like we’ve run out of drugs, but I’m still not kind of quite there yet”.

She continued: “I know, because I trust my husband, he’s just the most wonderful man, and so is my family, and I know that my kids are going to be more than looked after and surrounded by love and you always want to know as a mother are your kids going to be OK?

“And my kids are going to be fine, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to miss every chance that I could have had with them.

“I’ve been having sleepovers with my brother and my sister, we’re all in our 40s. You know I’m never alone, which I think is great. It’s like being kids again, and I can’t think of a better way to go.”