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Bowel Cancer awareness campaigner Deborah James, known on social media as ‘BowelBabe’, has raised more than £6m and been awarded a Damehood after revealing that she is receiving end-of-life care.
Deborah, a former deputy headteacher, found out in late 2016 that she had incurable stage four bowel cancer. Over the last 5 years, she has tirelessly raised awareness of issues surrounding cancer by sharing her experiences on social media and by hosting a podcast, ‘You, Me & the Big C’.
The Bowelbabe fund
In an Instagram post on 9 May, Deborah told her followers she wouldn’t be receiving any more active treatment, and would be moved to hospice (end of life) care, at home with her family.
She asked everyone who supported her to ‘buy me (Deborah) a drink to see me out this world’ by donating money to the Bowelbabe Fund she has set up. Although the original goal was to raise £250,000, Deborah raised over £1m within a day. The total amount raised now stands at over £6m, and Deborah has been made a Dame for her efforts.
Donations to the Bowelbabe Fund will go to Cancer Research UK and their partner organisations so they can test new cancer treatments and raise awareness of cancer symptoms and diagnosis
Cancer diagnosis & COVID-19
Deborah was diagnosed with cancer before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there are serious worries about the backlog of cancer cases that have been missed because of delays and disruption caused by Covid-19.
Cancer charity Macmillan estimates that 32,000 fewer people than expected have been treated for cancer since the pandemic began, and that the backlog might not be cleared until 2027. Deborah herself raised her concerns that the pandemic has made cancer patients feel that their lives are ‘less valuable’.
Hannah Carr, Senior Associate at Novum Law, says:
“I lost my mum to bowel cancer in 2013 so Deborah’s campaign is one particularly close to my heart, and I think I speak for all of us at Novum Law when I say that I’ve been so inspired by everything she’s achieved. We are thinking of her and her loved ones at this time.
“The impact of Covid-19 on cancer diagnoses is highly concerning. People who should be receiving a diagnosis and getting proper treatment are slipping through the cracks, even as Covid-19 restrictions ease elsewhere. Issues like cancelled surgeries, paused clinical trials and other delays in treatment mean that some patients are struggling to access lifesaving care, often with tragic consequences.
“We want to see a greater effort to clear the backlog and support people with cancer, and hope that some of the funds that Deborah has raised will help to give others a fighting chance into the future.”
Novum Law’s specialist team of medical negligence solicitors have many years of experience helping people who have had a delayed cancer diagnosis. If you or a family member has been affected, contact our team who can help on a no win, no fee basis. To find out more, contact us on Freephone: 0800 884 0777, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online enquiry form.
Image credit: Deborah James Instagram