SUN writer Deborah James has been honoured with a Damehood after capturing the hearts of the nation with her heart-wrenchingly honest account of having bowel cancer.
The mum of two, 40, has raised £3.6million since Monday when she revealed she was on end-of-life care.
We led calls for her to be recognised.
Hero cancer campaigner Deborah James told of her shock at being made a Dame saying: “OMFG, this is crazy.”
Brave Deborah added: “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.”
Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and No 10 pulled out all the stops to honour the mum of two who has written for The Sun about her treatment and life since being diagnosed.
Prince William is thought to have been the driving force behind the honour.
He worked behind the scenes to make sure that she got her damehood.
A source said: “William and Katherine were extremely moved by Deborah’s story, both being parents themselves, and were blown away by her campaign.
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“William moved heaven and earth to make sure she got this award that she so richly deserves.”
Dame Deborah thanked everyone who has helped her Bowelbabe Fund raise the staggering sum, adding: “It’s surpassed all expectations. I’d love to get it to £5million by the end of the weekend.”
Her kids Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14, told The Sun: “We’re just speechless, we’re so, so proud.”
Husband Seb said the outpouring of love, support and donations has been hugely uplifting and heartwarming for the family during “this extremely difficult time”.
He added: “It has brought a piercing ray of light and hope into this, the darkest of times.
“She has campaigned tirelessly, often through adversity, and being recognised with a Damehood is something that she would never have dreamt of, but it is so truly deserved.”
Her proud parents Heather and Alistair added: “It is amazing that the love for our inspirational daughter has been honoured in this way. It recognises her strength and courage in sharing her story over the last five years to help others facing cancer.”
And her sister Sarah Wieczorek and brother Ben added: “The recent support shown for Deborah and the Bowelbabe Fund since its launch has been overwhelming.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Dame Debs saying: “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.”
WILLS AND KATE TOUCHED
The Cambridges earlier tweeted: “Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life and tenacious desire to give back to society. @bowelbabe is one of those special people. Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends.
“Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer.”
The Sun’s campaign to honour Debs with a Damehood had been backed by leading charities and celebrities including football legend David Beckham, Talk TV’s Piers Morgan, heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, TV’s Lorraine Kelly and I’m A Celebrity winner Giovanna Fletcher.
Deborah was first diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer aged 35 in December 2016.
She was told it was unlikely she would live to see the following Christmas, and given an eight per cent chance of living five years.
Yet last year she celebrated her 40th, and the five-year milestone.
Last summer Deborah’s liver started to fail after the drugs that had been keeping her alive stopped working.
In January, she suffered a major internal bleed and was rushed to A&E by Seb, her husband of 13 years.
On Monday, Dame Debs shared in a heartbreaking Instagram post that despite trying everything “my body simply isn’t playing ball”.
She said: “Nobody knows how long I’ve got left.”
In her final Things Cancer Made Me Say column for The Sun Online, she said: “My body just can’t continue anymore. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that my last six months have been pretty hellish health wise.
“So I sadly find myself in the place that I never wanted to be — the next crossroads. My body is so emaciated that I have no choice but to surrender to the inevitable.”
Yet, in true Deborah style, she was determined to give her campaigning one final push.
She launched the Bowelbabe Fund, to raise money for Cancer Research UK, The Royal Marsden and Bowel Cancer UK.
It is her wish that the money goes to fund life-saving research to give hope to others — to help realise her long-held dream that her children might grow up in a world where all cancer can be cured.
Fronting our bowel cancer campaign, Deborah helped put pressure on the Government to change the law, lowering the screening age from 60 to 50.
She has also co-hosted BBC podcast, You, Me and the Big C, written a book F*** You Cancer, and shared her journey with her followers on Instagram.
Dressing up as a poo emoji, dancing through chemo sessions in sequinned dresses, Deborah has shown the world you can live with incurable cancer.
Celebs and charities hail Deborah James
PIERS Morgan said: “Dame Deborah has a great ring to it. I can’t think of anyone in Britain who more deserves a damehood than this extraordinarily brave and inspiring woman who has helped save so many lives.”
Davina McCall said: “Deborah is an elemental force of nature. Always working so hard to leave the world a better place, she has saved countless lives through education and awareness while fighting her own battle with such grace”.
David Beckham said: “Deborah James’ story is both heartbreaking and truly inspiring. Her fight against cancer and her spirit and positivity are simply incredible and will give so much strength to so many people fighting this cruel disease.”
Phillip Schofield said: “Deborah enabled us to be more open and less fearful about cancer by sharing her story. She’s touched the hearts of the whole country and will forever remain an inspiring figure.
Carol Vorderman said: “Deborah has defined a new way of viewing a terminal illness. She’s used every means possible to get the ‘check, check, check’ message across to others to look for the warning signs.”
Giovanna Fletcher said: “Deborah’s worked tirelessly for five years to get people more comfortable talking about the uncomfortable. Her smile, humour and love of life has pulled people together. She’s special.”
Anthony Joshua said: “What an unbelievable fighter Deborah has been over recent years. What she has managed to do is nothing short of monumental — both personally and to raise awareness and much-needed funds.”
Vernon Kay said: “People have been enabled to be more open and less fearful about cancer through Deborah sharing her story. She’s touched the hearts of the country and will forever remain an inspiring figure.”
Ben Fogle said: “She has put a face to the faceless and helped more people understand the devastation bowel cancer can have. People like Deborah are one in a generation, which is why she must be honoured with a damehood.”
Ulrika Jonsson said: “Not many people may have met Deborah James but I’m sure everyone knows who she is. And she has done that out of utter selflessness – sacrificing her own personal, private battle and making it public.
“I can think of many people who have been thrown a Damehood for much less. This woman has been a miracle and she has brightened all our lives despite her suffering. An ordinary person doing extraordinary things in her final hours.”
Lauren Mahon said: “Let’s face it. Deb has Dame written all over her! The ferocity of her commitment to improve the outcomes for those affected by cancer knows no bounds. She has saved and changed too many lives to mention. Including mine. She deserves the world.”
Victoria Derbyshire said: “Deborah is saving so many lives while raising millions to fund scientists to find new treatments – and hopefully a cure – for cancer. She is incredible and amazing, and totally deserves this honour.”
This Morning’s Dr Philippa Kaye said: “Deborah has used her personal challenges to become a voice for others and fight for drugs to become available for other people. Even in her darkest time, she is thinking about how she can help other people. She has literally always been the most giving person.”
Katie Piper said: “She’s an incredible woman, she’s raised huge amounts of awareness helping us all to understand signs, symptoms but also so remove shame and embarrassment around getting tested and discussing bowel cancer in general.
“Her spirit and strength is infectious. She has the ability to lift and inspire others even when she is struggling. A wonderful role model for any that are facing struggles which frankly is all of us at some point. Deborah you are a lioness and you inspire me.”
Who Cares Wins Awards 2019 winner Matt Hampson said: “What Deborah has achieved and continues to achieve is unbelievable! I can’t believe how strong and selfless she is.
“What an amazing ambassador she is, not just for Cancer Charities but all charities.
“We can all learn a lot from her stoic attitude in the face of adversity. Deborah is a beautiful woman inside and out which is known by everybody who meets her, A true legend.”
Rav Wilding said: “I met Deborah a few years back at a charity event. She was happy, smiley and so full of life. I didn’t know her story until afterwards or indeed the pain she would have been in at the time. Deborah James always puts others before herself in every way she can.”
Nick Knowles – whose close friend, PR Kirsty Shaw-Rayner suffers from bowel cancer – said: “Conversations about cancer and living with a terminal prognosis and the constant fight to find cures or ways to manage cancer are so important.
“Deborah, through her podcast, has taken the taboo from the conversation and helped raise huge funds toward that research. To make her a dame is a final thank you this country can give to someone who, in her darkest hours, chose to share her plight to help others.
“It’s a way we can, as a nation, say thank you.”
Sharon Osbourne said: “I bow down to Deborah James for her strength, dignity and sending out the message of early diagnosis. May God bless her.”
Sophie Ellis-Bextor said: “It’s hard to put into words what a force Deborah is. She’s taken a terrifying, life-threatening cancer diagnosis, and turned it on its head by showing us all how to live.
“More than that, she has actively saved lives through raising awareness of bowel cancer symptoms. Her incredible foundation fundraising is a final ‘cheers’ to life. The money donated means so much, but the reason people have donated is an outpouring of love for Deborah and her family.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8788179/deborah-james-awarded-damehood/ Inspirational Deborah James honoured with Damehood after capturing hearts of nation and raising millions for charity