Deborah James was an assistant principal at Staines prior to her cancer diagnosis

Dame Deborah James, whose battle with cancer was followed by thousands on Instagram, has sadly passed away at the age of 40.

She received end-of-life care from a hospice for eight weeks after being diagnosed with colon cancer five years ago.

Her family shared the tragic news on Instagram, writing: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mom.”

“Deborah passed away peacefully today surrounded by her family,” they continued, before sharing a few final words from Deborah herself.

“Find a life worth enjoying; To take risks; to love deeply; regret nothing; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poop – it could save your life,” said the 40-year-old.

She was known as a podcaster, journalist, cancer activist and Instagram star, but Deborah, who was recently honored with a dame, used to be an assistant principal.

Read on to find out more about her career…

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Deborah James was Assistant Principal

Deborah was Deputy Headmistress at Matthew Arnold School in Staines-upon-Thames, her LinkedIn profile reveals.

She joined the school in Surrey in April 2016, just before she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 35 and her whole life was turned upside down.

She was previously an assistant principal at a school called Salesian in Chertsey, but was forced to give up her love of teaching after her devastating diagnosis.

A profile of Royal Marsden reveals that she was a “successful assistant principal who helped turn around failing schools,” as a biography continues ISPOR says she specializes in “computer science and the use of e-learning”.

The 40-year-old graduated from the University of Exeter with a BA in Economics in 2004.

Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

In her cancer journey

Deborah was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer just before Christmas 2016 at the age of just 35.

she said Colorectal Cancer UK that she went to the GP many times for changing bowel habits and was repeatedly told she had irritable bowel syndrome.

However, after she continued to lose weight and do bloodwork, she went for a private colonoscopy and was diagnosed with colon cancer.

After battling the disease for five years and sharing her life and treatment on Instagram, Deborah announced she had moved into end-of-life care in May.

“My active care has ended and I have now been transferred to a home hospice with my incredible family around me and the focus is on making sure I am not in pain and spending time with them,” she said in a tragic one Instagram post.

Adding that her “body just won’t play along,” the podcaster said, “No one knows how long I have left but I can’t walk, I sleep most of the time and most of the things I’ve taken for granted are pipe dreams.”

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Then she became famous on the Internet

After being forced to quit her job as an assistant principal, Deborah rose to fame online, quickly amassing hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram after sharing her cancer journey.

She was best known for being the presenter of the BBC 5 Live podcast You, me and the Big Cin which she spoke about life with cancer and has also appeared regularly on Talk Radio and BBC Radio London.

She has also been a columnist for The Sun and has also written for a number of other publications including The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Grazia and Marie Claire.

Deborah also wrote a self-help bestseller entitled F*** you cancer in 2018 and has been appearing regularly on UK talk shows such as Lorraine following her internet fame.

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After being told her cancer was nearing the end, she set up a Just Giving Babe called the Bowelbabe Fund to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

At the time of writing, the Bowelbabe Fund has raised £6.8million and the 40-year-old has been honored with a femininity after the start of the fundraiser.

“I always knew there was one thing I wanted to do before I die. I’ve always raised so much awareness and money for the charities closest to me over the years,” she wrote on Instagram.

“This is the @bowelbabefund is being formed and I would be happier for nothing than for you to help make it thrive,” the 40-year-old continued, before urging people to “stop by [her] a drink” through a donation.

All money goes to Cancer Research UK to raise funds for more life-saving cancer research “to give more Deborahs more time”.

In other news, Travis Barker’s son Landon is “dating” one of TikTok’s biggest stars, Charli D’Amelio Deborah James was an assistant principal at Staines prior to her cancer diagnosis

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