I want to die listening to my family after our last days together, says Deborah James

CANCER campaigner Deborah James has revealed how she wants to spend her final moments.

The Sun columnist has been living with bowel cancer since 2016 and this week stopped receiving active treatment.



Former school teacher Deborah, also known as Bowel Babe has moved to the home of her parents in Woking.

It's from there that the 40-year-old has managed to raise over £3million in a matter of days for the Bowel Babe fund.

A lasting legacy that she hopes will help 'more Deborah's have more time'.

The podcaster says that the hospice has advised her that she could have 'weeks at most', left with her family.

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Once ticking off her to-do list, which includes 'death admin', Deborah has vowed to relax and spend time with her family, her parents, husband Sebastien and her two children, Hugo and Eloise.

"I want to die listening to my family, I just want to hear their banter and the normal buzz of life as I go", she told The Times.

"My priority is that I spend time with my family, we are all together, I'm at my parents, it's always where I supposed I wanted to die.

"My husband, my kids are around. My parents, my brother, and my sister.

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"We've been having sleepovers, we've been doing loads of talking – well I've been listening, lying on the sofa, I've been doing a lot of sleeping", she told 5 Live earlier this week.

Deborah charted her bowel cancer journey through her column 'Things Cancer Made Me Say' and the 'You Me and the Big C' podcast.

She has campaigned tirelessly for cancer charities and has helped raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

As emotional as she is, she said she doesn't want her life to be a sad story and has no regrets.

"I could have regretted putting my life on show and stripping off to my knickers for bowel cancer but I don’t regret it, I met incredible people and felt I was making an impact.”

The mum-of-two added that she feels gutted that the things she loves, she won't get to see, hear, smell or taste any more.

"I have so outlived my prognosis, it’s ridiculous. I want to thank everyone: the NHS, my doctors and nurses. I am now sounding like an Oscar winner except there are no medals for dying," she added.

Over the last few days, Deborah has been tying up loose ends, including a final podcast episode and her final column for The Sun.

My cancer didn’t define me but it never went away, we knew it was going to catch me in the end I had to navigate life with it

Deborah said she's three quarters of the way through getting her affairs in order and that one thing that needs to be sorted out, is a book she has been writing titled – 'F*** You Cancer: How to Face the Big C, Live Your Life and Still Be Yourself'.

"I have ends to tie off which include whether my book will ever be published.

"I don't know if I have months, the hospice said it could be weeks at most really.

"Nobody, not even doctors, they just don't know."

Aside from her book, Deborah will also leave the Bowel Babe fund.

She asked supporters to buy her a drink to “see me out this world” by donating the cost of a gin and tonic to the fund.

The money will be donated between Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden.

She added that she had always wanted to use her platform in a good way.

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"I want to raise a pocket of money to go across the three charities which have supported me.

"My cancer didn’t define me but it never went away, we knew it was going to catch me in the end I had to navigate life with it," she added.


Bowel cancer symptoms to speak to your GP about:

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • Pain or a lump in your tummy
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight

Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.

In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo

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