Campaigner and writer Dame Deborah James, AKA Bowel Babe, has passed away aged 40 after being diagnosed with bowel cancer. She leaves behind her husband Sebastien and her children Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14.
Deborah’s family shared the devastating news via an Instagram statement:
“Dame Deborah James.
“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.
“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.
“We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund.
“Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.
“And a few final things from Deborah…“find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.” x
“(Shared with Deborah’s permission)”.
Deborah was diagnosed with bowel cancer back in 2016, and spent the last five years of her life documenting her journey and spearheading campaigns to help people better understand the signs of the condition and seek help early on. Those who have followed her journey online, as she battled through chemo appointments, took on fitness challenges to raise money and shared day-to-day updates from life with her husband and two children, will know only too well how the ex-school teacher refused to let her diagnosis dictate her life.