Deborah James Awarded Damehood For Cancer Campaigning

The You, Me And The Big C podcast host, who is receiving end-of-life care, has raised millions of pounds for Cancer Research UK.
Downing Street said the Queen was “pleased to approve the honour of damehood” be conferred upon Deborah James.
Downing Street said the Queen was “pleased to approve the honour of damehood” be conferred upon Deborah James.
Ken McKayKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Cancer campaigner and podcast host Deborah James has been awarded a damehood, the government has confirmed.

The co-host of the You, Me and the Big C podcast, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, on Monday revealed she is receiving end-of-life care.

The mother-of-two said she was sharing the message she “never wanted to write”.

“We have tried everything, but my body simply isn’t playing ball,” she wrote on Instagram and Twitter. “My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them.”

The podcast, which James co-founded with Lauren Mahon and the late Rachael Bland, has touched millions of lives worldwide.

But James wanted to drive this last fundraising push to give “one final F you to cancer”, and has raised more than £3m for Cancer Research UK.

In a statement, Downing Street said the Queen was “pleased to approve the honour of damehood” be conferred upon James.

Prime minister Boris Johnson praised her for her work helping others with cancer.

He 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.

“I hope this recognition from Her Majesty – backed I’m sure by the whole country – will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time. My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.”

Speaking about the damehood, James told The Sun: “I don’t know what to say. 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.”

She told the newspaper her fund has “surpassed all expectations”, adding: “I’d love to get it to £5 million by the end of the weekend.”

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