Dame ‘ fundraiser has now smashed through the £6million mark in less than a week – more than 24 times her original target of £250,000 in what she has described as the ‘most humbling’ experience of her life.
The cancer-stricken mother-of-two, 40, who enjoyed an afternoon with on Friday as he presented her with a Damehood, revealed that she plans to die with a ‘massive smile, no regrets and a big glass of champagne’.
Only six days ago did the Bowelbabe host announce to her followers that she would be stopping active care to treat her bowel cancer and moving to a hospice – at the same time she launched her fundraiser.
She took to to post pictures of the Duke with herself and her family, saying the visit gave them ‘so much to smile about in the sadness’.
The podcaster told her 708,000 followers: ‘I believe I may have had the most surreal, mind blowing, humbling 5 days of my life.
‘I cannot thank you for your generosity at launching the @bowelbabefund which now stands at £5.9 million, and to the @dukeandduchessofcambridge for going above and beyond to make a very special memory happen yesterday.
‘Can’t quite believe I’m actually a Dame!My family are being amazing and as emotional as it all is, we are finding so much to smile about in the sadness.’
She admitted to ‘getting weaker and more tired’, but continued: ‘I always said I wanted to slide in sideways when my time is up, with a massive smile, no regrets and a big glass of champagne!Still my intention!!!’
Dame Deborah (centre, with husband Sebastien Bowen, left, and children Eloise, 12 and Hugo, 14) told her Instagram followers how ‘kind’ William (right) ‘made everyone feel at ease’, adding that he was ‘welcome back any time’
Dame Deborah has raised more than £6million for Cancer Research UK through her Bowelbabe fund on Just Giving.Having set her original target at £250,000, she has now raised more than 24 times her goal
The cancer-stricken mother-of-two enjoyed an afternoon of ‘tea and champagne’ with Prince William on Friday as he presented her with a Damehood for her tireless campaigning and fundraising efforts
Prince William meets with Deborah and her family to award her her Damehood for her tireless campaigning and fundraising for cancer research
She wrote on Friday: ‘I cannot thank you for your generosity at launching the @bowelbabefund which now stands at £5.9 million, and to the @dukeandduchessofcambridge for going above and beyond to make a very special memory happen yesterday’
Deborah was made a dame by the Queen for her commitment to raising awareness and funds for bowel cancer following her diagnosis in 2016
The BBC podcaster told her then 686,000 followers: ‘Can’t quite believe I’m actually a Dame!My family are being amazing and as emotional as it all is, we are finding so much to smile about in the sadness’
Dame Deborah reached the £5million milestone on Friday after donations from more than 240,000 supporters, including William and his wife Kate.
This figure hit £6million on Sunday morning, with another 40,000 people generously donating to the cause in that time.
Her Just Giving page said it is ‘raising money to fund clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer’.
She said she was ‘completely lost for words’ after reaching the phenomenal amount. TV presenter Lorraine Kelly responded to the news, saying: ‘This is just wonderful – tears and laughter – love you @bowelbabe.’
It came just hours after she was made a dame by for her commitment to raising awareness and funds for bowel cancer following her diagnosis in 2016.
The monarch led praise for Deborah, saying she was ‘pleased’ to approve the Damehood, while the Prime Minister said ‘if ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it’.
In a post on Instagram on Friday night, Dame Deborah wrote: ‘Thanks to an incredibly generous donation earlier today, and to every single person who’s donated to the @bowelbabefund, we’ve just reached the unbelievable total of £5m.
‘We’re completely lost for words. This is all just beyond anything we could have ever imagined. The last five days have been surreal.’
She added: ‘Thank you for putting a huge smile on my face, and helping us to launch a legacy to hopefully impact a lifetime cutting edge cancer care.’
Since being diagnosed with bowel cancer six years ago, the former headteacher has kept her and social media followers up to date with her treatments.
She has now raised more than £6million with her for Cancer Research UK – averaging more than £1m per day this week.
On Thursday night, Number 10 confirmed that Deborah was to be made a dame, saying: ‘The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.’
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.
Deborah James (pictured) was honoured with a Damehood after raising millions of pounds for charity since Monday as she revealed she was receiving end-of-life care
The former headteacher (pictured right, with children Eloise, 12, Hugo, 14 and husband Sebastien Bowen) was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and has kept her more than 500,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.
On Monday, Deborah announced that despite having 17 tumours removed and undergoing new procedures she has been moved to hospice care because her ‘body simply isn’t playing ball’
Deborah James has written letters and bought gifts for her children Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, and wants to cuddle them for the last time before she dies
The Queen led praise for donat the tragic mother-of-two, saying she was ‘pleased’ to approve the damehood, while the Prime Minister said ‘if ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it’.
On Thursday night, Number 10 confirmed that James is to be made a dame, saying: ‘The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.’ Pictured, Deborah James (left) with her family on Mother’s Day this year
Deborah James explained how she’d had ‘hard conversations’ with the children, but put her full faith in husband Sebastien Bowen – a London banker with whom she has been married more than 13 years.She has urged him to find love again as long as it’s not a ‘bimbo’
Deborah announced earlier this week in a heartbreaking message that active treatment for her bowel cancer was stopping and that she was moving to hospice at home care
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‘Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone.
‘I hope this recognition from Her Majesty – backed I’m sure by the whole country – will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time.My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.’
She has now revealed her shock at being made a Dame, telling : ‘I don’t know what to say.I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured. I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.’
Dame Deborah’s children Hugo and Eloise said they were ‘speechless’ and ‘so, so proud’, while husband Seb said a damehood was ‘something that she would never have dreamt of but it is so truly deserved’.
Damehoods and knighthoods are usually listed in the New Year or Queen’s Birthday Honours, but in exceptional circumstances some are announced at other times.
The teacher-turned-podcaster has moved millions as she announced in a heartbreaking message that active treatment for her bowel cancer was stopping and that she was moving to hospice at home care to die.
The mother-of two is preparing to spend her final hours on her parents’ lawn surrounded by family, drinking Champagne, having been told by her hospice nurses: ‘You are dying, you can drink what you like.’
In a tearful final newspaper interview she said last night: ‘The one thing my family know is I am petrified of being alone.I don’t want to die alone.’ And when asked about the end of her life approaching she said: ‘I have moments when I just sob uncontrollably, but I can’t spend my last few days crying, it would be such a waste. So I’m trying to compartmentalise my death’.
She said she has started her ‘to-do death list’ to support son Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, when she is gone, and has urged her husband Sebastien to find love, with the caveat: ‘Don’t be taken for a ride, don’t marry a bimbo’.
Dame Deborah said she has written letters for her children to help them with their first dates and wedding days, and will buy Hugo ‘a nice pen or wallet or cufflinks’ and Eloise ‘Tiffany bracelets and earrings’ to remember her – as well as some presents and postcards from her for the future.
Her funeral is also planned where she will be cremated, but she hopes her ashes will be kept in the family kitchen ‘for a while’ before being scattered.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also paid tribute to the cancer-stricken podcaster, declaring that she has ‘captured the heart of the nation’, after her fundraiser passed £3.3million yesterday and continues to rise at a rate of £1million every 24 hours.
Steve Bland, co-host of the You, Me And The Big C podcast alongside Deborah James, praised the bowel cancer campaigner after her research fundraising initiative reached £4 million.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘It is amazing, but this is what Deborah does.Deborah deals in the extraordinary. This is what she has done for five years.
‘Everyone is focusing on the last five days, but actually Deb has been doing this for five years, ever since she was diagnosed with incurable cancer five years ago, and since then she has just been trying to help people.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid tribute to cancer-stricken BBC podcaster Deborah James, after her fundraiser passed £3 million yesterday
In a tweet, William and Kate said: ‘Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society.’ Pictured, the couple during their visit to Glasgow, Scotland, on May 11
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