‘It’s too hard to think I won’t see my son as a father’: Emotional Dame Deborah James, 40, praises the ‘incredible’ men in her life and vows to have ‘a whisky or two’ with her ‘unsung hero’ dad on Father’s Day as she receives end-of-life care
- Dame Deborah James, 40, is preparing to celebrate a heart-wrenching Father’s Day with the men in her life
- The cancer activist is receiving end-of-life care and says it’s heartbreaking she won’t see her son be a father
- Dame Deborah said her father Alistair is her ‘unsung hero’ and is thrilled with her brother Ben’s engagement
- She also paid tribute to husband Seb, who she said is an ‘incredible’ dad to children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12
Dame Deborah James has reflected on the loving support of her father Alistair as her family prepares for a heart-wrenching Father’s Day.
The much-loved activist, 40, who is in the final stages of bowel cancer, is looking forward to celebrating the day with her husband Seb, children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, as well as her father and mother Heather.
Now receiving palliative care at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, she says she will mark the day with ‘a whisky or two’ with her father who she called her ‘unsung hero,’ The Sun reports.
She said: ‘I’ve not always been a big one for telling Dad how much I love him, so take it from me, just say it. You never know when it might be your last chance.
‘It’s too hard to think about, the idea I won’t see my son as a father.’
Now receiving palliative care at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, Dame Deborah James says she will mark the day with ‘a whisky or two’ with her father Alistair who she called her ‘unsung hero,
Dame Deborah James, 40, who’s receiving hospice care at her parents’ home in Woking, made the short journey to Royal Ascot yesterday, a day she described on Instagram as a ‘fab milestone’
Prince William meets with Deborah James to award her her Damehood last month for her tireless campaigning and fundraising for cancer research
Dame Deborah also revealed her husband Seb is an ‘incredible’ father to their two children.
And she was thrilled when her brother Ben proposed to his girlfriend of 11 years Ashley.
She added: ‘For me, this year it’s about my dad and Seb, but it’s also about the men in my life who will hopefully one day be fathers too, my son and brother.’
Yesterday, Dame Deborah revealed she was given just days to live when she was released from hospital last month – and insisted her day at Royal Ascot was a ‘fab milestone’ that proves she ‘ain’t dead yet’.
The mother-of-two has been making the most of the time she has left after revealing last month that she’s no longer receiving active treatment for her cancer.
In that time, she has been on a number of outings, including watching opera at Glyndebourne, enjoying a trip after hours to the Chelsea Flower Show and lunch at the £700-a-night Beaverbrook estate in Leatherhead, Surrey.
Dame Deborah (centre, with husband Sebastien Bowen left, while children Eloise, 12 and Hugo, 14, back) told her more than 630,000 Instagram followers how ‘kind’ William (right) ‘made everyone feel at ease’, adding that he was ‘welcome back any time.’
‘Prince William actually came to our house!’: Deborah shares pictures from the Duke of Cambridge’s visit on Friday, in which he awarded her her Damehood
Deborah pictured with her brother Benjamin and his fiancé Ashley Hall (far right) said memories were made during the special day out
Deobrah revealed she was given just days to live when she was released from hospital to have palliative care at home last month
She also revealed she had a ‘gut instinct that something wasn’t right’ before her bowel cancer diagnosis in her final TV appearance on E4’s Embarrassing Bodies which aired yesterday evening.
Sharing a clip from the programme on her Instagram stories today, Deborah explained: ‘I recorded this with the Embarrassing Bodies team a good while ago but it’s out tonight.
In the clip, she explained: ‘I started going to the poo – we need to say that – eight times a day. And I used to be a once-a-day kind of girl.
On Wednesday, the former deputy headteacher turned bowel cancer campaigner attended Royal Ascot, just a 30-mile trip from her parents’ home, with family members including her brother Ben.
She took to Instagram to reveal how much she had enjoyed the special day out, describing it as a ‘fab milestone to say “I ain’t dead yet”.’
The former schoolteacher, a mother of two, was also snapped with jazz singer Natalie Rushdie while at Ascot yesterday
Dame Deborah James, 40, has joked she’ll have an old cocktail every day until she’s ‘gone’ in a bittersweet Instagram story as she is receiving palliative care at her parents’ home in Woking
The campaigner, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, also shared a post by In The Style urging people to snap up more of their Rebellious Hope collaboration to add another £1million to her Bowelbabe Fund, which currently stands at £6,707,653
Earlier this month, Deborah vowed to ‘still live whilst dying’ after sharing comparison photographs while visiting Glyndebourne opera with her husband Sebastien, pictured
In a touching post on the social media platform, she wrote: ‘Yesterday was really special as with a lot of effort and help I actually made it to Ascot Race Course once again.
‘I honestly have to pinch myself that I’ve been well enough each day to do something like this. Another favourite I’d had in mind and a fab milestone to say “ain’t dead yet!”
‘Obviously like most haven’t been for a while due to Covid, but so nice to be back and thank you to Ascot Race Course for making the whole experience for me and my brother just seamless and achievable for me.
‘Memories made, but most importantly I got 3 wins in a row and am still bouncing off the ceiling from them still!!!’
Dame Deborah was diagnosed ‘late’ with incurable bowel cancer in 2016. She has frequently said that as a vegetarian runner, she was the last person doctors expected to get the disease.
After sharing her experiences on living with the disease on social media, Deborah became known as the ‘Bowel Babe’ and began writing a column for the Sun.
In 2018, Deborah joined Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland to present the award-winning podcast You, Me and the Big C on Radio 5 Live.
Bland tragically died of breast cancer on September 5 that year; her husband Steve Bland now co-presents the show.
Dame Deborah, who stopped active treatment for her illness around a month before moving to her parents’ home for hospice care, described how stressful her situation is.
She said: ‘I find myself living in limbo land, not really knowing what the future holds and for how long. It’s a very stressful uncertain place to be because when I was discharge from hospital over a month ago I was given days, maybe a week to live. And I felt like it.
As she shared side-by-side pictures of her in 2017 and her now, Dame Deborah reflected on how she was ‘trying to make the most of not knowing what lay ahead’ five years ago
The mother-of-two said she remembered visiting Glyndebourne Festival Opera five years ago, shortly after she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer
The former headteacher (pictured right, with children Eloise, 12, Hugo, 14 and husband Sebastien Bowen) was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and has kept her more than 500,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.
Deborah James explained how she’d had ‘hard conversations’ with the children, but put her full faith in husband Sebastien Bowen – a London banker with whom she has been married more than 13 years. She has urged him to find love again as long as it’s not a ‘bimbo’
The nation has been moved by her tragic story in recent days, with at least £1million in donations now being made every day made on the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK page she set up. Today it surpassed £5.1 million (pictured)
‘But as we all know life doesn’t go according to plan, so I’m just greatful for what ever extra time, the powers that be have decided to grant me. So despite the unnerving tears, I look at the sunshine, smile, and think, wow, life is a funny thing isn’t it!! Better enjoy it!’
As well as posing for photos with her brother Benjamin and his fiance Ashley Hall, the campaigner was also snapped with jazz singer Natalie Rushdie.
In addition, earlier in the day, she shared a snap of some of the sundowner drinks she’s been enjoying with her family at her parents’ home.
She revealed she was enjoying a sip of Sex on the Beach and said she plans to ‘work her way through old cocktails day by day’ until her time comes.
The campaigner, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, also shared a post by In The Style urging people to snap up more of her Rebellious Hope collaboration to add another £1million to her Bowelbabe Fund, which currently stands at more than £6.7 million.
‘Today’s “sundowner” treat of choice! ‘Sex on the Beach!”,’ Dame Deborah wrote, sharing a picture of her sun-soaked cocktail.
Already a much-respected campaigner, Dame Deborah’s thousands of followers were devastated when she revealed she was no longer receiving active treatment to fight her cancer.
The nation applauded as she was made a Dame in a moving ceremony at her parents’ home last month, as Prince William himself paid a visit to confer the honour upon her in person.
Dame Deborah (pictured left) chats to GP Dr Tosin Ajayi-Sotubo (pictured right) about why talk of poo, should never be a taboo
She described enjoying an afternoon of ‘tea and champagne’ with Prince William as he presented her with a Damehood for her tireless campaigning and fundraising efforts, which has seen £5million donated to cancer research in just four days.
Dame Deborah revealed the ‘surreal’ meeting via her Instagram page, where she uploaded several pictures of the Duke of Cambridge with her and her family.
She told her more than 630,000 followers how ‘kind’ William had ‘made everyone feel at ease’, adding that he was ‘welcome back any time.’
Dame Deborah wrote: ‘Prince William actually came to our family house today! I am utterly honoured that he joined us for afternoon tea and champagne, where he not only spent a generous amount of time talking to my whole family but also honoured me with my Damehood.’
She said having a royal ‘pop in’ was surreal and joked that the cleaning antics before his arrival were ‘off the scale’.
‘But it was all irrelevant because William was so kind and he put us all at ease,’ she added.
‘He is clearly passionate about improving oncology outcomes as the President of the Royal Marsden.
‘It was such a special day for my whole family, making memories to last a life time. He’s welcome back any time!’
Earlier, the BBC podcaster said she was ‘completely lost for words’ after raising more than £5million for charity since revealing that she was receiving end-of-life care.
It came just hours after she was made a dame by the Queen for her commitment to raising awareness and funds for bowel cancer following her shock diagnosis in 2016.
The monarch led praise for Deborah, saying she was ‘pleased’ to approve the Damehood, while the Prime Minister said ‘if ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it’.