Deborah James says she’s ‘humbled’ by damehood as she thanks fans for incredible support

Podcast host Deborah James, who became known as the ‘Bowel Babe’ after sharing her experiences publicly, has been honoured with a damehood just a few days after revealing she’s receiving end-of-life care for her bowel cancer

Dame Deborah James has shared her thoughts after being honoured with a damehoodByJess Flaherty

  • 15:14, 13 May 2022
  • Updated15:30, 13 May 2022

Deborah James has expressed her joy and pride after being honoured with a damehood.


The podcast host's damehood comes just a few days after revealing she is receiving end-of-life care for her bowel cancer.

Deborah was initially diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer back in December 2016, at 35 years old. After choosing to share her experiences online, the 40-year-old became known as the 'Bowel Babe', and went on to become one of three presenters on BBC Radio 5 Live's You, Me and the Big C.

Recently, the star's charity efforts hit the £4 million mark, with donations pouring in for her cancer research fundraising initiative. She has raised more than 16 times her original £250,000 goal for Cancer Research UK.

Deborah James, pictured here in 2019, has been praised for her frank discussions on cancer

Dave Benett/Getty Images for JW Marriott Grosvenor House London)

Podcast host Deborah James has been honoured with a damehood

Instagram/Deborah James)

Now, the mum-of-two has expressed she is "humbled and blown away" to be honoured with a damehood.

Usually, damehoods and knighthoods are announced as part of the New Year Honours or the Queen's Birthday Honours though, in exceptional circumstances, they can be announced at other points in the year. This was the case with Captain Sir Tom Moore's knighthood, and now Deborah's damehood.

In a statement, Downing Street said the Queen was "pleased to approve the honour of damehood" be conferred upon Deborah.

Taking to Instagram to express her thoughts on the honour, the podcast host penned: "I don’t even know where to start with the overwhelming tears getting in the way. I’m humbled and blown away that 5 years of talking about poo can lead to a Damehood! I feel honoured and shocked that I even got considered."

Deborah James pictured with her children

Instagram/ @bowelbabe)

Deborah James was dubbed the 'Bowel Babe' after discussing her experiences with bowel cancer openly

Instagram/ @bowelbabe)

She continued to praise the "unwavering" support of her following over the past four days, after launching the Bowel Babe Fund to benefit a number of cancer charities. Dame Deborah said that each day, she can't "fathom" people's "kindness and generosity".

She continued to add her "heartfelt" thanks to the "wonderful people in the world", while expressing gratitude for the "unconditional" support she's received since her diagnosis in 2016.

Accompanying her thoughts on the damehood, the star revealed she's "getting more and more sleepy and finding life a little harder". Praised and admired for her frank approach to discussing cancer publicly, Dame Deborah went on to discuss the impact of her podcast and campaigning efforts, adding: "Small chats really can save lives, small conversations can create ripples far beyond where we might see them, and seeds might grow where [we’ll] never see their fruits. And there is something exciting and beautiful in that cycle of life.

"With this money hopefully more people will have more time with their loved ones. : who knows what plants we might grow, but when done with hope we pray that some blossom into game changers for our kids, and many more to come."

James began co-presenting the podcast, You, Me And The Big C, with Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland in 2018 and they earned praise for their frank discussions about cancer.

Bland died in September that year at the age of 40, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Bland's widower, Steve, who joined the podcast as a host following her death, said James "deals in the extraordinary".

Dame Deborah recently revealed that hospice advised her she could have "weeks at most" and opened up about her final days with her family.

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