Precious memories are putting big smiles on my face and keeping me going, says Deborah James

DAME Deborah James has shared how keeping busy and making memories has kept her going in her final days.

The Sun columnist, who is having palliative care for advanced bowel cancer, shared a series of images that have “made her smile over the last few days”.


Dame Debs, 40, said on Instagram: “I feel at the moment I’ve got so much to share,to be thankful for but my body just isn’t playing the game! [sic].

“Im finding it harder and harder to engage and am just resting up a lot between managing side effects and having lovley random chats with my family.”

The mum-of-two revealed on May 9 that she would no longer be having treatment for bowel cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2016.

Her heartbreaking news prompted The Sun to campaign to get her honoured with a damehood – turned around in 24 hours.

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She has raised £7.5million, including Gift Aid, since launching her new Bowelbabe Fund with Cancer Research UK. 

And, although resting at her parent’s home in Woking, Dame Debs has kept herself busy.

Photos published to Dame Deborah’s Instagram this morning give a glimpse into how she has been spending time as she prepares for end of life, still living in the fast lane.

This week she was sent a Lego figurine of herself which has “put the hugest smile on my face”. 

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The model was wearing Dame Debs’ 'Rebellious Hope' charity t-shirt, created with the clothing brand In The Style as part of a fashion line.

Her collection will be previewed for 48 hours from 7pm tonight before it's officially launched later in the year.

Dame Debs said the launch was “keeping me going”.

“I’m nervous because of all the hard work we put into it and I just really hope you like it,” she penned.

“We decided to bring a little pre-order launch forward just so I’d be here to see it, which makes me emotional. 

“But watch my stories today for ALL the details! And remember we are donating the entire profits to the @bowelbabefund so I’m really proud of what we are doing. I just wish I could wear it all!!”

Yesterday Dame Debs visited the Royal Chelsea Flower Show out of hours to see the rose that has been named after her.

She said seeing the Dame Deborah James Rose, named by The Harkness Rose Company and featured at its stand, “brought a well needed smile” to her face. 

The former teacher celebrated with a glass of bubbly and said the honour meant "absolutely everything".

She arrived with husband Sebastien Bowen for an hour-long private tour arranged by the BBC's Sophie Raworth.

Dame Debs thanked the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, for his “kind words about me and my family this week”.

Prince William said of his visit to the Woking family home, where he awarded Debs her Damehood: "I loved meeting her, she was fantastic."

Dame Debs added: “I was so happy to see his visit to the @royalmarsden where he got to meet my team and see some of the amazing work they do first hand. 

“So happy that he saw interventional radiology in action. And met Nicos (on the right) who is one of my hero’s who has actually saved my life on many occasions.”

‘My body isn’t playing ball’

Dame Debs said today that she is “finding it harder and harder to engage”, and her “body isn’t playing game”.

In an interview with The Sun earlier this week, Dame Debs said she was “scared to sleep”.

She’s feeling “exhausted” but adds: “I don’t feel like I’m on my deathbed.

“I’m not planning on dying anytime soon but it’s just so unpredictable.

“I’m scared to fall asleep and that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m so tired. I am scared to go to sleep.”

The 40-year-old said she has good days, and bad – adding she is doing all she can to shield her kids, Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14, from seeing her darkest moments.

She said: “I think my family are knackered, they have all been incredible – going above and beyond to look after me and nurse me.

“What I have seen from them in the last two weeks is true love, deep love. It’s overwhelming.

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“They have all been amazing. 

“I know the pressure on them at the moment is huge, I can’t do anything anymore without their help.”

  • To pre-order Deborah's book visit Amazon
  • Her t-shirt is available through In the Style in sizes 6-28
  • The Dame Deborah James rose, Bare Root, is available at World of Roses
  • To donate to the Bowelbabe Fund, click here

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