Deborah James awarded Damehood for cancer campaign

Cancer activist 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, revealed on Monday that she is receiving end-of-life care.

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

“We’ve tried everything but my body just isn’t playing ball,” she wrote on Instagram and Twitter. “My active care has stopped and now I’m in the hospice at home with my amazing family around me and the focus is on making sure I don’t feel 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 around the world.

But James wanted to boost this latest fundraising effort to give “one last F you to cancer”, and has raised over £3m for Cancer Research UK.

In a statement, Downing Street said the Queen was “pleased to approve of the lady’s honor” bestowed on James.

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

He said, “If ever an honor was amply deserved, this is it. Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage have been a source of strength for many people.

“Through her tireless campaigning and by sharing her experience so openly, she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, but has also ensured that countless other people in the Big C do not feel alone.

“I hope this recognition from Her Majesty – supported, I’m sure, across the country – will bring some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time. My thoughts are with them and Deborah must know that she has the love and gratitude of the country.”

Speaking about damehood, James told The Sun: “I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and I feel incredibly honoured.

“I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s a lot to take in.”

She told the paper that her fund “exceeded all expectations”, adding: “I would love to reach £5m by the end of the weekend”.

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