14.06.2024

Thousands sign up for Race for Life in memory of ‘Bowelbabe’, who raised £11.3mn before her death

More than 5,000 people have signed up to Race for Life in memory of Dame Deborah James. The campaigner, who died in June last year, raised more than £11.3million for Cancer Research during her lifetime and in the months following her death.

This year, participants have been invited to race in memory of ‘Bowelbabe’, with funds going towards causes and projects the podcaster and fundraiser was passionate about.

Her sister, Sarah Wieczorek, said she would be ‘incredibly proud’ her story was continuing to inspire people.

She said: ‘Race for Life was incredibly special to Deborah. She loved the positive energy of the events and the sense that everyone taking part was in it together, having fun and raising money for vital research. She could usually be found on the start line wearing a pink tutu and wig.

‘We’re looking forward to taking part in Race for Life for Bowelbabe as a family and want to say a big thank you to everyone who has already signed up — it’s wonderful to see that Deborah is still inspiring so many people to take part. She would be incredibly proud and grateful to everyone for getting involved.’

Dame Deborah James raised more than £11.3mn for Cancer Research during her campaign

Dame Deborah James raised more than £11.3mn for Cancer Research during her campaign

More than 5,000 people have this year signed up for the Race For Life in James’ memory

More than 5,000 people have this year signed up for the Race For Life in James' memory

Dame Deborah was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 when she was 35 and became an outspoken campaigner, encouraging people to check for signs of the disease.

The mother-of-two, who candidly documented her treatment on BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C, regularly took part in Race for Life.

A deputy head teacher, she was made a dame by Prince William for her fundraising efforts when he visited her at her parents’ home in Surrey.

Last month, Cancer Research UK revealed the initial projects being funded by the Bowelbabe Fund to support Deborah’s legacy.

One study led by Professor Trevor Graham, director of the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, will look to lay the foundations for new precision treatment that could stop bowel cancer spread.

Another project, involving a team of leading scientists, will look at targeting microbes that might cause bowel cancer.

Starting this month, Race for Life will see more than 450 events at over 180 locations across the UK, with women, men, and children choosing to run, walk or jog the 3k, 5k and 10k events.

Now in its 30th year, Daily Mail has teamed up with Cancer Research UK as the official media partner for Race for Life, alongside Standard Life (must keep).

Our sponsorship and your support will help Cancer Research UK continue to raise money for cutting-edge research into more than 200 types of cancer.

Those running in memory of Dame Deborah will continue fundraising for the Bowelbabe Fund, which will specifically support cutting-edge research into early detection and personalised medicine, raise awareness of signs and symptoms and tackle the stigmas around cancer.

Deborah James was made a dame by Prince William for her cancer research fundraising efforts

Deborah (right) is pictured on holiday with husband Sebastian (left) and their family

Deborah (right) is pictured on holiday with husband Sebastian (left) and their family

Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Michelle Mitchell, said: ‘Dame Deborah was a wonderful ambassador for Race for Life for many years.

‘She was passionate about raising vital funds for cancer research, encouraging people to sign up and enjoyed the events and great atmosphere very much.

She added: ‘Over 3,000 people have already signed up to Race for Life for Bowelbabe, which is a testament to how many lives Deborah touched.

‘We want as many people as possible to join us on the start line at a Race for Life event in the summer and raise money to help continue Deborah’s incredible legacy.’

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