Dame Deborah James dies aged 40 after battle with cancer

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  June 29, 2022

Deb James, who campaigned tirelessly for bowel cancer awareness and treatment, has sadly passed away aged 40

‘Bowelbabe’ blogger, writer and podcaster Deborah James, who was recently made a Dame, has sadly passed away aged 40.

Deb was open and honest about her battle with bowel cancer, hosting the You, Me and the Big C podcast and sharing updates on social media since her diagnosis in 2016. She told her million social followers in early May that she was receiving end-of-life care at home with her family, starting the Bowelbabe Fund for cancer research and going on to raise almost £7 million.

In an Instagram post on 28 June, it was announced that she had passed away ‘peacefully […], surrounded by her family’.


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A post shared by Deborah James (@bowelbabe)

Deb took part in numerous running events, including running the Vitality London 10,000 in her pants with the Celebrate You team and taking on the virtual London Marathon with her close friend and Women’s Running columnist Emma Campbell.

Emma, who has also lived with cancer, shared some words with Women’s Running after Deb’s announcement that she was receiving end-of-life care:

“Debs has shown us and taught us, not only how to live with cancer, but how to live. She taught me that joy and laughter can exist alonside fear and fragility, and that Rebellious Hope was something that nobody could take away.

“She was born that way and her cancer diagnosis, from what I’ve witnessed, has only served to intensify and multiply her magnificent love for life. I’m angry that she’s going to be gone too soon.”

If you haven’t already, do listen to Deb’s inspirational story on the Women’s Running podcast, and pre-order her book How To Live When You Could Be Dead now.

All our love goes out to Deb’s family and friends, and we will forever be touched by her positivity, determination, strength and wisdom.

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

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