Campaigner Deborah James awarded damehood as appeal raises £4.2m in days

A fundraising appeal set up by cancer campaigner and podcaster Deborah James, as she receives end of life care, has reached £4.2m in just days.

In addition, the 40-year-old presenter of the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast has been awarded a damehood for her fundraising achievements and raising awareness of cancer care.

James, who is being cared for at her parent’s home, told the BBC that she “was blown away and crying” after receiving the honour.

In confirming that the Queen has approved the damehood for James, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.”

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James’ Bowelbabe Fund has been set up with support from Cancer Research UK to fund projects including clinical trials and research into treatment for cancer patients.

Money will also be used to raise awareness of cancer through initiatives such as Bowel Cancer UK’s Never Too Young campaign.

In launching her fundraising campaign James told her supporters that “we have tried everything, but my body simply isn’t playing ball”.

“Even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, I realise that my rollercoaster of a ride is coming to an end very soon.”

Her campaign had originally aimed to raise £250,000 when it was set up earlier this week but is currently 1,706% over this target. More than 232,000 supporters have donated through the appeal.

Commenting on James’ damehood Cancer Research UK said: “It’s testament to the incredible work she’s done and continues to do, to raise awareness and money despite everything she’s going through”.

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