Obituary Note: Deborah James

Deborah James, a British podcaster, writer and cancer campaigner "who chronicled her struggle with an incurable bowel tumor with candor and vivacity," died June 28, the New York Times reported. She was 40. James co-hosted You, Me and the Big C, a BBC podcast about cancer; wrote a column about her journey through her illness for the British tabloid the Sun; tirelessly raised awareness and funds for the cause; and wrote a book, F*** You Cancer: How to Face the Big C, Live Your Life and Still Be Yourself (2018).

In May, Ebury imprint Vermilion had moved up the publication date of her second book, How to Live When You Could Be Dead, from January 2023 to August 18, 2022, the Bookseller reported. Samantha Jackson, editorial director at Vermilion, said: "We are incredibly sad about the passing of Dame Deborah James. Deborah's determination to live life on her own terms in the face of death was an inspiration to us all. The awareness Deborah brought to bowel cancer has saved so many lives and we are truly honored that Deborah entrusted us to publish her books, F*** You Cancer and the forthcoming How to Live When You Could Be Dead, which Deborah was working to complete very recently. Our thoughts are with her family."

In the podcast, which she founded in 2018 with Lauren Mahon, she "hosted conversations with other patients about how cancer affected their sex lives or what it meant to have the disease during the coronavirus pandemic. But she also opened up about her personal life and condition, and detailed her anxieties and feeling of powerlessness," the Times wrote. 

"We changed the way people talk about cancer in this country," Mahon, who co-hosted the podcast, said. "I don't even know any celebrity or Hollywood star that could have this profound impact on so many people on such a deep level."

Among her supporters were Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. On May 12, 10 Downing Street announced that Queen Elizabeth II had approved a damehood for James. The next day, Prince William visited James at her family house.

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