In this article, you will get all the information regarding Dame Deborah James never saw herself as one of those shining healthcare heroes, but she was exactly that
IN the five years that I have had the good fortune to work with Dame Deborah James, we texted each other most days.
But there is one WhatsApp that I will never forget. I knew it was coming, but I hadn’t let myself believe it.
I had been clinging to the hope that Debs wouldn’t let go and we dared to dream that she might be one of the lucky ones.
But on Saturday, May 7th, Debs messaged friends to say that this was the message she never wanted to send.
It crushed me. I sobbed and fought to catch my breath.
It was, Deborah was going to die, and yet my brain couldn’t comprehend a world without her.
Just over seven weeks later, on June 28, Dame Deborah James died at the age of 40, five years and seven months after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Shortly after this diagnosis in February 2017, I met and interviewed Deborah for the first time. She had just been told that the 6 cm tumor that was growing in her intestines was terminal cancer.
I had no idea at the time how important that first story would be, and I had no idea the impact Debs would have on my life – and the lives of millions.
What started as work quickly grew into a friendship and bond that I will cherish for life.
It was impossible not to fall in love with her. She radiated a special magic.
She lured you in with her wicked sense of humor, wild ideas, and rough laugh, and captivated you with her understanding of people, raw honesty, and tireless drive to help other people.
Faced with her own devastating diagnosis — one she knew would prevent her from seeing her children Hugo, 15, and Eloise, 13, grow up — she found the strength to put others first.
I don’t think I ever heard her ask, “Why me?”
Instead, fueled by her rebellious hope, Debs channeled her energies into campaigning and serving other cancer patients.
She has campaigned for new medicines to be made available to more people in the NHS, led The Sun’s ‘No Time To Lose’ campaign and helped persuade the Government to raise the age for bowel cancer screening in England from 60 to 50 to lower it – a move that will save countless lives.
She dressed up as a poo emoji and danced on trains and in the streets to help normalize conversations about poo and our gut — something often considered taboo.
So what happened after she abandoned her treatment and returned to her parents in Woking to die should not have surprised me.
Debs had defied the odds time and time again, and now she had another defiant card up her sleeve.
When she left the Royal Marsden for the last time, the doctors had given her only a few days to live.
I spoke to her for those first few days and I could hear from her voice that she was exhausted. I had never heard her so sick and it scared me.
Dame Deborah James never saw herself as one of those shining healthcare heroes, but she was exactly that
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