Dame Deborah James' mum speaks out for the first time since daughter's death
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: BBC Breakfast/Instagram/@bowelbabe
Deborah, who was a podcaster, writer, and activist, announced back in May that, after five years of treating her bowel cancer, she had moved to hospice at home care and sadly died on 28 June at the age of 40.
Speaking out following her daughter's heartbreaking death, Heather revealed that doctors had only given her three to five days to live, but ended up living for another miraculous eight weeks. Have a listen below:
After announcing her decision to move to hospice-at-home care, Deborah left her family home and moved back in with her mum in Woking, Surrey for her final days.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she candidly revealed: "That eight weeks was probably in one way the best eight weeks we've had together as a family, even though she died at the end of it."
She continued: "I think the hardest thing was knowing she was going to die. My heartache as a mother I couldn't do anything about that was the hardest for me to cope with.
"She went, 'I have no regrets', and I went, 'That's brilliant', how many people could say that?
"But she did say 'I don't want to die'. And that's the hardest, saddest part."
Over the space of her final eight weeks, Deborah was visited by Prince William, who awarded her damehood.
Recalling the exciting day, Heather said that the Duke was "just like one of [her] son-in-laws."
"He just sat down with us. He was so lovely, I think he is a people’s king," she said.
Deborah also raised an incredible £7 million for cancer research with the support of her fans and followers.
When she posted the odd update to her BowelBabe Instagram account, Deborah would receive thousands of comments and will wishes.
Reflecting on the love her daughter received, Heather said: "I still find that amazing that she had the love of the people out there. And that meant a lot. That’s meant a lot to the family and it still does."
She continued that the family likely would not have 'coped' without the overwhelming support that they received from the public.
Heather's first interview since her daughter's passing comes just two days before Deborah's book: How To Live When You Could Be Dead.
In her wake, Dame Deborah has also had a groundbreaking impact on the awareness of bowel cancer.
According to Bowel Cancer UK, referrals for bowel cancer hit an all time high after the campaigner's passing.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK Genevieve Edwards said: "She was a phenomenal campaigner, and you can just see the impact that she’s had there with people coming forward.
"And if those thousands of people who’ve come forward, the majority of them probably won’t have bowel cancer, but for those that do, that’s lifesaving."
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677