Dame Deborah James’ family share heartfelt message the day after her death | The Sun

THE family of Dame Deborah James have shared a heartfelt message the day after her death.

They last night asked people to ‘buy a drink’ for her in support of the Bowelbabe Fund.

The Sun writer and cancer campaigner died on Tuesday at the age of 40, but not before she raised millions of pounds for charity in a matter of weeks.

Her legacy will live on – but Brits are being encouraged to get the fundraiser past the £10 million mark this weekend.

Donations started rolling when 40-year-old Debs launched the Bowelbabe Fund – now sitting at £7 million – at the start of May.

She revealed she would begin palliative care at her parents home in Woking, Surrey, where she passed away seven weeks later.

All cash raised will go to Cancer Research UK to help fund clinical trials and research into medicines.

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Leave your messages of tribute to Dame Debs in our online book of condolence

Donate here to keep raising money for Deborah's BowelBabe fund.

Last night the family posted to the Bowelbabe Instagram, urging others to post photos of themselves “raising a glass” to Debs after donating to the cause.

It echoed Debs’ own sentiment, writing when she first launched the page: “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 family confirmed Debs’ death in an Instagram post on Tuesday evening, saying they were “deeply saddened” by their loss.

The emotional statement said: “Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer.

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"Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.

“We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund.”

Mum Heather said her “heart is broken” after sharing a clip of her daughter dancing on holiday.

Celebrities and leading figures, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Boris Johnson and the chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, shared their words of sentiment.

And Sun readers have been urged to do the same, by writing on our online book of condolence. 

Inspirational Debs made it her mission to spread awareness of bowel cancer after she received a shocking diagnosis at the age of 35, in 2016.

Looking far from the stereotypical cancer patient, Debs was fit and healthy, a marathon runner – but told she had an incurable form of the disease.

She beat the eight per cent odds of living for five years after her diagnosis, and “Rebellious Hope” soon became her slogan.

During those five years, she worked tirelessly to raise awareness of cancer.

Even in her final days, when she managed to get M&S, Aldi, Tesco and Andrex to commit to printing the signs of bowel cancer on their loo rolls. 

Debs broke cancer conversation taboos, sharing a brutally honest account of her journey, from treatment to surgery scars and her looming fate. 

But most of all, the fearless mum constantly urged others to “check their poo”, watching out for blood or a change in bowel habits – both signs of bowel cancer. 

In a final message published by her family, Dame Deborah said: "Find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope.

"And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life."

Debs shared her journey on Instagram and with Sun readers in her column Things Cancer Made Me Say.

Among her last columns and interviews, she wrote about her fears of dying and not seeing her children grow up. 

Debs also presented the award-winning BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C with fellow cancer patients Rachael Bland, who passed away in September 2018, Lauren Mahon and Rachael’s husband Steve.

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She tirelessly banged the F*** Cancer drum – writing a book of the same name – and vowed to do everything she could to help others avoid her fate.

Deborah is survived by her two children, Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14, who she shared with her husband, Sebastien.

Donate here to keep raising money for Deborah's BowelBabe fund.

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