Who was Dame Deborah James? Iconic BBC podcast host was known as 'Bowel Babe' to her millions of fans
BBC podcast host Dame Deborah James is no more. The mother of two, who began blogging about her diagnosis under the name Bowelbabe in 2017 and raised millions of pounds to raise awareness about bowel cancer, died following her six-year-long battle at the age of 40.
Deborah’s family announced the news on her official Instagram account on Tuesday, June 28. The caption of the post read, “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family. Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.”
It further said, "Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring."
Tributes pour in for the beloved campaigner
News of Deborah's demise left her admirers devastated. One of them wrote, "What an awe inspiring beautiful courageous woman is Dame Deborah James. I am truly impressed and at a loss to find enough superlatives to bestow upon this amazing angel. Rest in peace Bowel Babe!" Appreciating how Deborah saved so many lives, a user tweeted, "Can't believe @bowelbabe has gone with the angels she was a warrior and thousands if not millions of lives will be saved because of her. RIP Dame Deborah James."
What an awe inspiring beautiful courageous woman is Dame Deborah James. I am truly impressed and at a loss to find enough superlatives to bestow upon this amazing angel. Rest in peace Bowel Babe!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️— John Massey (@JohnMas69201362) June 29, 2022
Can't believe @bowelbabe has gone with the angels she was a warrior and thousands if not millions of lives will be saved because of her. RIP Dame Deborah James.— Colette McEvoy (@ColetteMcEvoy87) June 29, 2022
Genevieve Edwards, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, of which Dame Deborah was a patron, said the former teacher had an "incredible energy" and a "marvellous knack of making things happen". Honoring her work, Edwards said, "She had this incredible power to connect with people. She leaves a tremendous legacy behind her".
'She never stopped campaigning to raise awareness and supporting others'— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) June 29, 2022
Cancer campaigner, blogger, broadcaster and former teacher, Dame Deborah James, has died aged 40.
Genevieve Edwards from Bowel Cancer UK spoke to #BBCBreakfasthttps://t.co/pgCLdtdvNU pic.twitter.com/oNSUiG3BNK
'You, Me and the Big C'
Prior to her illness, Deborah worked as a headteacher at two secondary schools in Surrey. Soon after her diagnosis, she began working as a journalist, detailing her cancer journey. She became a known face for sharing her battle with bowel cancer on the popular BBC podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C,’ which she began co-presenting in 2018, alongside Lauren Mahon, a cancer activist, and the BBC Radio 5 live newsreader Rachael Bland. The trio found huge success with the podcast and won several awards. Rachael Bland, who was diagnosed with the disease in November 2016, died two days after she announced on the podcast that she had only days to live in 2018.