‘Don’t lose your smile’ Doctor shares heart-warming message from Deborah James
Dr Hilary Jones pays tribute to Dame Deborah James
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The cancer campaigner known as Bowel Babe lost her battle with the illness on Tuesday after a five-year struggle. The 40-year-old podcast host was receiving hospice-at-home care and in the last few weeks had been sharing moments of her final days on social media, determined to make the most of what time she had. It was announced on Tuesday the mother-of-two had died, and tributes continue to flood in. On Wednesday’s BBC Breakfast, Dr Nighat Arif shared a sweet message she received from Deborah during the pandemic.
Speaking to hosts Jon Kay Nina Warhurst to reflect on Deborah’s legacy, the doctor explained: “We were going through a difficult time back in 2020 when we were rolling out the vaccine programme.
“And I came on here [BBC Breakfast] and I must have not looked myself, because usually, I’m quite cheerful and quite happy.
“So on Instagram, she reached out to me and said, ‘Please don’t lose your smile, because you’re giving us hope in our household just watching you on BBC Breakfast throughout the pandemic’.
“And that’s the kind of individual she was. She knew how to reach out to individuals, she was very aware of those around her.
“Her emotional intelligence was fabulous, and that is how we connected.
“And obviously, both of us connected over our joy of TikToks, I was making women’s health content and she was making her content, raising awareness of bowel cancer.”
The doctor added: “And I have to say, even after 15 years as a clinician, when I know that a patient has a diagnosis and they’re going to pass away, I’m always still shocked that this has happened and this is going to take a little bit of time to sink in, to know that she’s not with us anymore.”
More to follow…
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