Deborah James was taken under the wings of long-term cancer patients before death

Dame Deborah James, the much loved star better known to the world as Bowel Babe, has revealed how she was taken under the wing of her fellow long-term cancer patients ahead of her death.

The late star, who passed away in June after a long battle with bowel cancer, revealed the kindness of her fellow patients in an extract from her, book How To Live When You Could Be Dead.

In an extract written in her own words, Deborah told readers: “ I’m a long-term cancer patient now – and there are a few of us at the Royal Marsden, where I received my treatment.”

She then went on to single out two individuals in particular, that helped her on her journey to try and combat the gruelling effects of the vicious disease.

One of these was a man named John, who had been living with cancer for 30 years since originally being diagnosed with testicular cancer in the 1990s which has sadly since metastasised.

The other was a woman named Marjorie, who had been on her own cancer journey for 20 years.

Speaking about their kindness and support, Deborah said: “When I was first diagnosed, they whipped me under their wing, and since then I’ve seen them do the same with so many other patients who come through the door petrified of what lies ahead.

“When anyone with cancer starts their journey, there are the milestones you can’t help but observe: first and last chemo sessions, or the number of radiotherapy sessions to go. But when you’re a long-term cancer patient like John and Marjorie, what do you do then?”

The star then revealed that last time she had caught up with John, he had undergone 252 cycles of chemotherapy and it had “become a bit of a comical milestone to him”.

Yet ti was this milestone that she wanted to celebrate, as it deserved to be observed “in his case, with a bit of a laugh.”

Explaining the reasoning behind her thought process, Deborah went on to discuss how each milestone on the cancer journey was pivotal, and needed to be acknowledged.

“I think that if you celebrate the milestones on your journey, you’ll program your brain to desire more success.

“If your goal is to run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, you should be fist-pumping-whooping-and-hollering happy for any PB you make that gets you closer to that mark.

“Rewarding the parts of a journey instead of just the destination makes you want more of the behaviour that caused the success – in other words, the hard work.”

The You, Me & The Big C podcast host died in June at the age of 40, five years after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

In the weeks before her death, the late star announced she had stopped receiving cancer treatment and would receive hospice care at her parents’ home in Surrey.

She explained that despite all of her treatments, her body just wasn’t “playing ball". Tragically, on 28 June, her family shared a statement to say she had "passed away peacefully".

Despite her heartbreaking ordeal, Dame Deborah's legacy continues as she was able to raise £7 million for cancer charities through her Bowelbabe Fund and also received a Damehood fromPrince William for her tireless work in raising awareness of the disease.

She was also able to finish writing her final book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, in which she spoke about her stage 4 diagnosis.


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