Deborah James' father brushes her hair on Father's Day as she calls him her 'unsung hero'

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·3-min read
Dame Deborah James has admitted she no longer has the strength to brush her own hair. (Getty Images)
Dame Deborah James has admitted she no longer has the strength to brush her own hair. (Getty Images)

Dame Deborah James has shared a photograph of her father brushing her hair, admitting she no longer has the strength to do it herself.

The 40-year-old cancer campaigner and mother-of-two - who revealed in May she had stopped having treatment and was in hospice care at home - called dad Alistair her "unsung hero" as paid tribute to him on a Father's Day she had not expected to see.

Dame Deborah captioned the photo: "Happy Father's Day! Yes, my dad is brushing my hair because I have no strength anymore to brush this."

Dame Deborah shared this picture of her dad brushing her hair on Father's Day. (Bowel Babe/Instagram)
Dame Deborah shared this picture of her dad brushing her hair on Father's Day. (Bowel Babe/Instagram)

The You, Me & The Big C podcast host - who was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016 - told The Sun newspaper: “My dad is my unsung hero, more so than ever. He’s quietly there behind the scenes, making sure I am okay."

Read more: Dame Deborah James in 'limbo land' as she lives longer than doctors thought

When Dame Deborah was in hospital at the beginning of the year receiving treatment for bowel cancer, only her mother Heather was allowed to visit her due to COVID restrictions. But her father drove her mum to the hospital every day.

Dame Deborah James attending Royal Ascot with her brother Benjamin James on 15 June 2022.
Dame Deborah James attending Royal Ascot with her brother Benjamin James on 15 June 2022. (Getty Images)

She said: “It must’ve been horrible for him not being able to come and see me. I am his daughter too.

“It breaks my heart knowing they are having to watch this, I can’t imagine what it must feel like.”

The cancer campaigner — a regular contributor on ITV's Lorraine and This Morning — is mother to son Hugo, 14, and daughter Eloise, 12, with her husband Sebastien Bowen.

She also paid tribute to her husband on Father's Day, saying: "Seb is a great father, he’s incredible with them both... He loves them so much, and I know that when I’m no longer here, he will love them for me too.”

Deborah James was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016, she stopped receiving treatment in May 2022. (PA)
Deborah James was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016, she stopped receiving treatment in May 2022. (PA)

Dame Deborah 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 £6.7 million.

Prince William visited her family home last month to present her with a 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.

Rachael Bland, Lauren Mahon and Deborah James presented the You, Me And The Big C podcast together. (BBC/Claire Wood)
Rachael Bland, Lauren Mahon and Deborah James presented the You, Me And The Big C podcast together. (BBC/Claire Wood)

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

Read more: Deborah James says husband is her 'rock' as she leaves house for first time in 10 days

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

Watch: Dame Deborah James has exceeded doctor's predictions

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