Only Deborah James could bring such joy in the darkest of times, says Lauren Mahon – after fund hits staggering £6m

DEBORAH James' close pal has said only she could bring such joy in the face of such dark times.

Lauren Mahon, started working on the hugely popular You, Me and the Big C podcast with Deborah, 40, and the late Rachael Bland.

The beloved trio came together in 2018 to talk candidly about cancer, having all been diagnosed with the disease.

Last week Deborah, now a Dame, revealed she was stopping active care and planned to spend her final days at her parents.

Lauren told Good Morning Britain: "It is tough. I'm heartbroken, we are all, everyone who loves Deb is, people who have never met her are.

"But this week has given us pure joy to cling on to, only Deb could do that in the darkest of times. 

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"What she has done in the last five years, let alone this week, is phenomenal. 

"People know the mark she's made and that will live on forever and I couldn't ask for more."

Dame Deborah, who has raised more than £6million in a week, posted about her pal's appearance on GMB.

She said: "Thank you to Lauren Mahon who just smashed it out of the park on @gmb this morning and (almost!) got my tears going! Love you."

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Deborah James says she's 'weak but running on adrenaline' since Damehood

Mum-of-two Deborah was made a Dame last week after calls led by The Sun saw a swift response from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

Investiture ceremonies usually take place only at royal palaces and take months to organise.

In an “unprecedented” move, the Duke cleared his diary to do the honours at a tea party at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, on Friday.

Mum Deborah, 40, on end-of-life care, told The Sun that Prince William is welcome to join her for tea and Champagne anytime after being awarded her honour in a moving ceremony.

Lauren said: "It's nothing less than [Deb] deserves. We are so overwhelmed. One thing we know for certain is Debs knows how loved she is. 

"I can imagine her parents cleaning every surface and putting everything away in cupboards.

"I know it was a very special and surreal day.

"This morning, when we spoke she said she just couldn't get over the amount raised."

What are the symptoms to look for? Remember “BOWEL”

  1. : B:Bleeding

There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, of blood in your poo.

Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, haemorrhoids or piles, in your back passage.

Dark red or black blood could come from your bowel or stomach.

Blood in your stools is one of the key signs of bowel cancer, so it's important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.

2. O: Obvious change in loo habits

It's important to tell your GP if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits, that lasts three weeks or longer.

It's especially important if you have also noticed signs of blood in your poo.

You might notice you need to go to the loo more often, you might have looser stools or feel like you're not going enough or fully emptying your bowels.

Don't be embarrassed, your GP will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and get it checked.

3. W: Weight loss

This is less common than the other symptoms, but an important one to be aware of. If you've lost weight and don't really know why, it's worth mentioning to your GP.

You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.

4. E: Extreme tiredness

Bowel cancer that causes bleeding can cause a lack of iron in the body – anaemia. If you develop anaemia you're likely to feel tired and your skin might look pale.

5. L: Lump or pain

As with lots of other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.

It's most likely you'll notice a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage.

See your GP if it doesn't go away, or if it affects how you eat or sleep.

Deborah's main mission throughout her cancer journey has been to spread awareness that anyone can get the disease, and early diagnosis is key.

Lauren echoed this earlier today, saying: "If it's cancer, it's not going anywhere.

"Burying your head in the sand only means a later diagnosis. And the later it is, the less chance of getting rid of this thing.

"Make sure you are owning your health. It will change your life.

"Look what Deborah James has done. How many lives has she saved?"

She revealed today marks five years since she was declared cancer free.

And in a poignant message to her friend Deborah, Lauren added: "I won't get cringey because I know you hate that. 

"I love you very much and that we couldn't be prouder of you.

"Be proud of yourself. We love you."


Deborah was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer aged 35 in December 2016, and was given an eight per cent chance of living five years.

Yet, “riding on the wings of science” as Deborah described it, she defied the odds time and time again.

Last year she celebrated her 40th, and the five-year milestone.

However last summer the drugs that had been keeping her alive — which did not exist for bowel cancer patients when she was first diagnosed — stopped working.

Last Monday, she shared a heartbreaking Instagram post saying she was now receiving end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, because the heroic efforts of her team of medics at The Royal Marsden Hospital in South West London were now fruitless.

She said her body “simply isn’t playing ball”, adding: “My body is so emaciated that I have no choice but to surrender to the inevitable.”

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