Deborah James: All I want is more life, says Big C presenter
Deborah James: ”I don’t want any other Deborahs to go through this”
All I want is more life, podcaster Deborah James has said after revealing that she is receiving end-of-life care at home for her bowel cancer.
James was diagnosed in 2016 and gave candid accounts of her treatment on the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast.
In her final episode she says that even after five years, knowing she is now nearing the end is “still shocking”.
She has also spoken of feeling “utterly loved” after more than £1m was donated to a cancer research fund she set up.
In the podcast interview, the 40-year-old said she did not “feel brave” after revealing on Instagram on Monday that nobody knows how long she has left to live.
She said her liver had stopped working over the past six months and doctors had advised that more treatment was “fruitless” because her “body does not want to play ball”.
“I can’t even walk anymore, that’s what’s really scary about it, I’ve gone from someone who used to run 5km [3miles] a day to someone who needs her husband to pick her up to walk a step.”
The broadcaster said she had gone to her parents’ home to spend her remaining time with her family because it was “where I always wanted to die”.
She explained this meant their family home in London could remain home for her children without the “medical equipment scars” in their memories.
Asked what hosting the podcast meant to her, James said it had given purpose back to her life after being diagnosed, adding the show had made her realise the influence she could have “saving another life or making someone not feel alone”.
“Yes I would give my cancer up in a second just to have a normal life again. But to be able to do it and feel like you’ve had an impact is kind of one of the best feelings you can have.”
After thanking listeners for their support over the years, she said: “Please, please just enjoy life because it’s so precious. All I want right now is more time and more life.”
She ended the show with a customary caution for people to “check your poo” for signs of bowel or other cancers, adding: “Come on, I can’t leave on any other word.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are among those to donate to podcaster Deborah James’ new cancer research fund, as donations surpassed £3m by Wednesday 11th May 2022.
The Bowelbabe fund launched on Monday, after James said she was now receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer.
She was diagnosed in 2016 and has spoken candidly about treatment on the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast.
“Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer,” Prince William and Catherine wrote on Twitter.
The couple described the mother-of-two’s “tireless efforts” raising awareness of cancer as inspirational.
“Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society. @bowelbabe is one of those special people,” they wrote.
In revealing her prognosis, the former deputy headteacher launched the fund to support research into personalised medicine for cancer patients, and to support campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer.
You, Me and the Big C: Deborah James’ Last Dance
All I want is more life, says Big C’s Deborah James
My body can’t continue, says Big C’s Deborah James
The Royal couple described James’ “tireless efforts” to raise awareness of cancer and “end the stigma of treatment” as inspiring.
They said they were sad to hear her news, but they were “pleased to support” the new fund.
“Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer.”
By Adam Durbin BBC News
PS 13th May 2022
Deborah James, host of Big C podcast, honoured with damehood
The 40-year-old host of the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast said on Instagram she was “blown away and crying at the honour”.
The mother-of-two has raised more than £3.7m since Monday, when she announced she had stopped having treatment.
She is spending her remaining time at her parents’ home, with her family.
Damehoods and knighthoods are usually announced as part of the New Year Honours or the Queen’s Birthday Honours. But, in exceptional circumstances, some are announced at other times of the year – as happened with Captain Sir Tom Moore’s knighthood.
Downing Street confirmed the granting of the honour in a press release, which said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it. Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.
“Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone.”
Deborah James is on my all-time list of best people ever, she is so brave, so inspirational and her attitude to life is what we all should adapt.
Although she has gone through and is going through hell she always has a huge beaming smile on her face! (I am sure there are many times behind the scenes when that is not so.
I think I will remember her words “Please, please just enjoy life because it’s so precious. All I want right now is more time and more life.” forever.
We all must “just enjoy life because it’s so precious”. That is so, so, true!!!