Deborah James’ mum releases touching message 6 months on from Debs’ death & says ‘it feels like it was just yesterday’

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DEBORAH James’ mum has said it feels “like it was yesterday” her beloved daughter died as she mourns her passing six months on.

Dame Debs, 40, died of Stage 4 bowel cancer on June 28 and her mum Heather was by her side right until the end.


Dame Deborah James’ mum has shared a touching note six months on from her daughter’s deathCredit:
Heather James was by her daughter's side until the end


Heather James was by her daughter’s side until the endCredit: Instagram

In a touching note shared on Instagram, Heather said her family had been “remembering” Dame Debs’ achievements over the Christmas period.

Alongside a photo of her walking her dog, she wrote: “It was lovely to walk today as nature and fresh air can help boost your spirits at challenging times.

“Thank you for all your lovely messages, your love and support has meant a great deal to me over the past few months.

“As many of you will be aware tomorrow will mark six months since Deborah died and on some days this has felt like an eternity but on others it is just like it was yesterday. 

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“Christmas can be hard when you’ve lost someone close to you.

“We have spent the last few days remembering all that Deborah achieved along with many good memories but this was also tinged with sadness at knowing how much she loved Christmas and was always the life and soul of our celebrations.

“I hope you all had a peaceful happy Christmas and if also feeling the loss of someone close to you that you were able to raise a glass in celebration of their life and remember the good times as we did for Deborah.”

Heather, also known as “bowelgran”, previously revealed the heartbreaking moment her daughter told her she was “coming home to die”.

She recalled how her Dame Debs struggled in hospital for the first few months of 2022 after experiencing a severe haemorrhage in January.

After that, Dame Debs lived in The Royal Marsden and “slowly deteriorated,” she revealed.

Heather, 65, said: “I can remember her saying one day ‘I can’t do this anymore’.”

After learning that her cancer treatment had stopped working in May, Dame Debs returned to her parents’ home for her final months.

Her mum said she recalls Dame Debs, known to fans as BowelBabe, saying: “‘I’m coming home to die but I don’t want to die’ and I went, I know you don’t want to die darling”.

Bowel cancer symptoms to speak to your GP about

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • Pain or a lump in your tummy
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight

Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.

In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you’ve been to the loo

Dame Debs had heartbreakingly revealed she wanted to die at her parent’s home to spare her kids Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, from constant reminders in their family home.

The brave mum-of-two shared every step of her journey with Sun readers in her column Things Cancer Made Me Say and her army of loyal social media followers after being diagnosed just days before Christmas in 2016.

She went on to present the award-winning BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C with fellow cancer patients Rachael Bland, who passed away in September 2018, Lauren Mahon and Rachael’s husband Steve.

In the five-and-a-half years since her diagnosis Deborah changed the conversation around bowel cancer, raising vital awareness and breaking down taboos.

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She tirelessly banged the F*** Cancer drum – writing a book of the same name – and vowed to do everything she could to help others avoid her fate.

And, just a month before she died, when she was told she would receive end-of-life hospice care, she started the BowelBabe Fund for Cancer Research.

Heather said Christmas without Dame Debs was 'hard'


Heather said Christmas without Dame Debs was ‘hard’Credit: Instagram

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