Dame Deborah James scared to fall asleep as she receives end of life care

·Contributor
·3 min read
Dame Deborah James
Dame Deborah James has said she is scared to fall asleep. (PA)

Dame Deborah James has confessed she is afraid to fall asleep as she receives end of life care.

The 40-year-old cancer campaigner and mother-of-two — who has just been presented with a Damehood by Prince William for her 'tireless campaigning' to promote bowel cancer awareness — admitted she is feeling exhausted, but she doesn't want to sleep.

Dame Deborah told The Sun: "The truth is, I don’t know how long I’ve got left. I don’t feel like I’m on my deathbed. I’m not planning on dying anytime soon but it’s just so unpredictable.

Read more: Deborah James wants her 'Embarrassing Bodies' episode to air even if she's gone

“I’m scared to fall asleep and that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m so tired. I am scared to go to sleep.”

Deborah James, Steve Bland and Lauren Mahon attending the British Podcast Awards,
Deborah James hosts You, Me & The Big C with Rachael Bland's widower Steve and fellow cancer patient Lauren Mahon. (PA)

The You, Me & The Big C podcast host — a regular contributor on ITV's Lorraine and This Morning — revealed two weeks ago she had stopped receiving treatment and was in hospice care at home.

Dame Deborah — who is mother to son Hugo, 14, and daughter Eloise, 12, with her husband Sebastien Bowen — revealed she is anxious for her children to have positive memories of their last days together.

She said: “I feel very strongly that I don’t want my kids to see me agitated and distressed. I want to make sure they see me when I’m having a good day.”

Dame Deborah said she has sad memories of seeing her grandparents unwell at the end of their life and she doesn't want her children to remember her that way.

Watch: Dame Deborah James was presented with her damehood by Prince William at her home

She added: “I don’t want them to take on the burden of having to care for me, massage my legs because I can’t walk. That would break my heart.”

Dam Deborah was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016.

She recently set up the Bowel Babe fund in her name, which will support Cancer Research UK, The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden hospital and promoting cancer awareness among younger people. It has now raised over £6.5million.

Prince William visited her family home to present her with her Damehood.

A rose has been unveiled at the Chelsea Flower Show named the Dame Deborah James Rose, with proceeds from the sale going to her Bowel Babe fund and Cancer Research UK.

Lauren Mahon, (unknown), Shareefa J, Anna Harding, Nimco Ali, Andrea McLean and Deborah James pose for a photograph after running the Vitality London 10000 in their underwear to promote body confidence.
Deborah James (far right) after running the Vitality London 10,000 race in her underwear to promote body confidence in 2019. (PA)

And she has just been presented with her very own Lego model of herself, wearing her 'Rebellious Hope' charity t-shirt.

Read more: Dame Deborah James embracing the rain in case it's the last time she feels it

Dame Deborah launched the BBC Radio 5 podcast You, Me & The Big C in 2018 with fellow cancer patients Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland.

Bland died aged 40 in 2018 after a two year battle with breast cancer.