Deborah James has raised over £6m in her campaign to find a cure for cancer and smash the taboos around bowel disease, just days after being made a dame.
The You, Me And The Big C host was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, and has been sharing candid posts about her progress and diagnosis to hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers.
The former headteacher was made a dame on Friday, after The Duke of Cambridge visited her at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, to personally hand over the honour.
James, 40, said she was “utterly honoured” that Prince William had joined her family for afternoon tea but admitted her “cleaning antics and preparation went off the scale” as she got ready for the royal visit.
Prince William and Kate had previously donated to her fund and thanked the campaigner for her “tireless efforts”.
Last week, James told her followers had been moved to hospice-at-home care to treat her terminal bowel, saying she did not know “how long I’ve got left” now that her body was no longer “playing ball”.
She added she had left “no stone unturned” in search of treatment, but that even a “magic new breakthrough” would not make a difference.
She said she is spending this time with her family – including her two young children – at her parents home, adding: “We will dance through this together, sunbathing and laughing at every possible moment!”
On Saturday, the mother-of-two said she is “getting weaker and more tired” and is running on “pure adrenaline”.
“My family are being amazing and as emotional as it all is, we are finding so much to smile about in the sadness,” she said.
“I always said I wanted to slide in sideways when my time is up, with a massive smile, no regrets and a big glass of champagne! Still my intention!”
She told the BBC she was going to her parents’ home for her final days because this meant her family home in London could remain home for her children without the “medical equipment scars” in their memories.
James’s Bowelbabe donation fund – in partnership with Cancer Research UK – will use the money raised for clinical trials, research, and to raise awareness of bowel cancer.