Dame Deborah James’ mother has said how much the public’s support during her daughter’s final weeks means to the family.
Dame Deborah, who was known on social media as Bowelbabe, died on June 28 at the age of 40, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 35.
In her first interview since her daughter’s death, her mother Heather James, Instagram manager Bowelgran, spoke about Dame Deborah’s final weeks and the love and support the family received.
In her final months, the host of the BBC’s You, Me And The Big C podcast has raised nearly £7 million for cancer research, with the money topping up after her death.
She also launched a clothing range with In The Style and completed her second book, titled How to Live When You Might Die, which was published August 18.
Ms James told BBC Breakfast: “I still find it amazing, that she has the love of everyone out there and that means a lot, it means a lot to the family and it remain so.”
When asked if that was a help, she added: “Yes. I thought I couldn’t cope… we were given three to five days, Deborah lived eight weeks.
“Those eight weeks were probably the best eight weeks we had together as a family, even though she died at the end of that time.
“How could you not love what she did during those eight weeks and it helps to know other people love her and want to help in any way they can.”
At the beginning of May, Dame Deborah revealed she had stopped active treatment and was receiving hospice care at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, with her husband and their two children.
During Dame Deborah’s final days at her parents’ home, Mrs. James was her primary caregiver.
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“I think the hardest thing was knowing she was going to die,” she said. It breaks my heart to know that as a mother I can’t do anything about it and I think it’s been the hardest thing for me…
“We had a good time. I can remember lying in bed, maybe only about a week before she died and she was pretty bad that night and she said, ‘I love you’ and I said, ‘I love you’ .
“She went” I have no regrets” and I went “It was amazing”, how many people can say that? But she said that I don’t want to die. And that was the hardest, saddest part.”
Dame Deborah has been honored for her “tireless campaign” to raise awareness about bowel cancer, with the honor bestowed by the Duke of Cambridge in May during a surprise visit to her parents’ home.
Mrs James said of William: “He made us very comfortable when we walked in. You know, that’s awesome. And he was like one of my sons-in-law, he just sat down with us. He’s so lovely, I think he’s the king of the people.”
Genevieve Edwards, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, told BBC Breakfast: “From the moment Deborah was diagnosed and until the end of her life, she campaigned tirelessly.
“She is an extraordinary campaigner, and you can see the impact she has on those coming up.
“And if those thousands continue, the vast majority of them probably won’t get bowel cancer, but for those who do, it’s lifesaving.
“I have spoken to a lot of people with bowel cancer who feel that they have the confidence to go and tell their own story because Deborah did.
“You know, she communicates very well and connects and they felt that they could have gone.
“So all those little conversations, like ripples in a pond, will continue to happen, and that’s really important because bowel cancer is not an easy disease to talk about.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/deborah-james-mother-how-can-you-not-love-what-she-did-in-that-eight-weeks-41914671.html Deborah James’ mum: ‘How could you not love what she did in those eight weeks?’