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Deborah James: World reacts tragic death after five-year battle with bowel cancer

There has been a worldwide outpouring of grief as celebrities, cancer survivors and cancer patients pay tribute to Dame Deborah James following the tragic news that she had died.

On Tuesday (28 June), it was announced that the campaigner and writer had died at 40 after being diagnosed with bowel cancer five years earlier. She leaves behind her husband Sebastien and her children Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14. 

Deborah, who set up a legacy foundation, BowelBabe Fund, after she was moved to palliative care at her parents’ house last month, managed to raise over £6 million for charities that are closest to [her],” including Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK, and Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, ahead of her death. The campaign’s success is just one of many feats that prove just what a widespread and powerful impact she had across the globe during the five years she dedicated to raising awareness around bowel cancer after her own diagnosis in 2016.

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Using the hashtag #checkyourpoo – a phrase Deborah often used across her various platforms – which encourages people to take the first steps in detecting bowel cancer if they suspect something is wrong, many people took to social media to react to the news.

“As a bowel cancer survivor myself, I can really mourn the passing of @bowelbabe who has done so much to publicise the condition. RIP,” one person wrote, another adding: “Very sad news but @bowelbabe Dame Deborah was an inspiration – as a bowel cancer survivor myself please, please check your poo – overcoming embarrassment could save your life @bowelcanceruk @CR_UK #bowelcancerawareness.”

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A third wrote: “As a bowel cancer survivor, I’m sad to hear that Deborah @bowelbabe has been taken from us. She leaves a legacy which should make anyone thinking of ignoring any symptoms to think again about being checked out. I for one am grateful I did the poo stick. I had no symptoms Rest well.”

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