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Deborah James couldn't help but get emotional this week when it was announced that she had been awarded with damehood just days after she revealed she would be receiving at-home hospice care for her bowel cancer.
The host of BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, and has been documenting her treatment journey in the years since through her 'Bowel Babe' Instagram account, but announced on Monday that she would be taking a step back to spend her remaining days with her family.
In the few days since her announcement, Deborah has managed to raise more than £3.7 million for her Bowel Babe Fund, which will go toward her chosen charities Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK, and Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
Following the monumental success of her fundraiser, a statement from 10 Downing Street confirmed that Deborah had been awarded damehood.
Sharing the news on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated: "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.
"My thoughts are with Deborah and her family. She has the country’s love and gratitude."
Sharing the announcement to her own Instagram page, Deborah admitted that it had made her rather emotional.
She wrote: "Blown away and crying at the honour."
The 40-year-old also commented on the news to The Sun, where she had worked as a columnist and regularly wrote about her life since being diagnosed with cancer.
"I don’t know what to say," she said. "I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured. I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in."
In her Instagram post on Monday, Deborah revealed to her thousands of supporters that she didn't know how long she had left to live, but knew that her body 'simply isn't playing ball'.
She told her followers: "I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore."
She went on to admit that, despite having previously written posts about experiencing her final Christmas, not making it to her 40th birthday, and never getting to see her children go to secondary school, she 'never envisaged writing one where I would actually say goodbye.'
She continued: "But I don’t think anyone can say the last 6 months has exactly been kind! It’s all heartbreaking to be going through but I’m surrounded by so much love that if anything can help me through I hope that will."
For more information and advice on bowel cancer, visit Bowel Cancer UK.
You can donate to the Bowel Babe fund here.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@bowelbabe
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