Dame Deborah James finds being on UK newspaper front pages ‘quite surreal’

Dame Deborah James says it is “surreal” to appear on the front pages of UK national newspapers after her “milestone” trip to Royal Ascot with her brother.

he 40-year-old podcaster, known as Bowel Babe online, shared a photo on Instagram of herself with her brother Benjamin and his new fiance after they spent a day at the races on Wednesday.

Dame Deborah, who is receiving end-of-life care at home for bowel cancer, admitted that living in “limbo land” has been very stressful but she is grateful for whatever extra time she gets.

News of her trip to the races featured in editions of newspapers including the Daily Mirror, The Sun, the Daily Express and the Daily Mail.

“I mean I’m still, like, excited and always surprised in a good way by it all! But it’s also quite surreal I have to say!”

In photos shared to her social media, the campaigner can be seen beaming while wearing a navy dress with white polka dots and a large woven hat while at Ascot Racecourse.

She wrote: “Yesterday was really special as with a lot of effort and help I actually made it to @ascotracecourse once again.

“I honestly have to pinch myself that I’ve been well enough each day to do something like this. Another favorite I’d had in mind and a fab milestone to say ‘ain’t dead yet!’”

The presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C thanked Ascot for helping to make the experience “seamless and achievable” for her.

She also revealed that she picked three winners in a row at the event which left her “bouncing off the ceiling”.

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Dame Deborah James, with her husband Sebastian Bowen, during a private tour at the Chelsea Flower Show (The Harkness Rose Company/PA)

Dame Deborah, who continues to outlive her life expectancy diagnosis, added that amid the activities she still finds herself “living in limbo land, not really knowing what the future holds and for how long”.

The campaigner, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, has been increasing awareness for years and has raised more than £6.7 million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity through her Bowelbabe fund on JustGiving.

In a recent episode of E4’s Embarrassing Bodies, she encouraged “smashing taboos” associated with bowel movements as it may “save lives” by helping people recognize bowel cancer symptoms.

During the episode, recorded while Dame Deborah was still in hospital, she encouraged viewers to “not be embarrassed about it,” and recognize the importance of monitoring their bowel movements.

She said: “We all poo, our favorite celebrities poo! Let’s kind of break down, smash those taboos because quite frankly, that is going to save lives. Let’s spread the word.”

Last month, Dame Deborah announced she had written another book, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, documenting what she has learned about having a positive mindset when faced with life’s biggest challenges.

Despite not being due to be published until August, the book shot to number one on the Amazon list through pre-orders, with her royalties going towards her Bowelbabe Fund.

The podcast host followed this up by releasing a clothing line with In The Style, with 100% of the profits going towards the cancer charity.

She was also honored with a damehood by the Duke of Cambridge at her home for her “tireless campaigning” efforts.

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