Dame Deborah James’ You, Me and the Big C podcast co-host recalled mourning the death of their fellow host Rachael Bland in a candid new interview, as she fondly reflected on her late boyfriend.
Lauren Mahon revealed that the morning after the Welsh presenter passed away in 2018, she asked Deborah why the illness couldn’t have affected her.
“I said to Deb the next day, ‘I’m the one who doesn’t have a husband and kids. Why them? Why you? radio times for the publication’s latest cover story, which spotlights Deborah’s legacy.
And she told me very sternly and said, “Lauren, you’re the hope — I’m glad you’re not in our situation.” That was typical of her.’
Deborah, who was made a lady by Prince William for her fundraising efforts, passed away last June at the age of 40 after a five-year battle with colon cancer.
Lauren Mahon spoke to Radio Times for the publication’s latest cover story, which shines the spotlight on Deborah’s legacy
She had launched the Bowelbabe Cancer Research Fund – which has now raised a whopping £11.3 million – to raise money for research into personalized medicine for patients with the disease.
The podcast You, Me and the Big C was originally hosted by Deborah, Lauren and Rachael.
The BBC program offered a more light-hearted and conversational look at cancer issues and how to deal with them.
Last year, Lauren opened up about the “fear and sadness, numbness and shock” of losing Deborah — as well as the “sheer elation, pride and gratitude” of what she’s accomplished.
“You can ask me how I feel at any time of the day, and it will be different,” she told the Daily Mail.
“We’ve been through something so powerful together – what we’ve created with the podcast has changed the way cancer is talked about and perceived in the UK.
“What I really struggle with is that Rachael, Deb and I started this together as a threesome and the prospect of not having either of them around is hard. I can not reach it.’
The podcast You, Me and the Big C was originally hosted by Deborah (right), Lauren (center), and Rachael (left)
Deborah (pictured), who was made a lady by Prince William for her fundraising efforts, died last June aged 40 after a five-year battle with colon cancer
Lauren, a former social media executive who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 at the age of 31, and the late Rachael were the other two points of this powerful broadcast triangle.
Tragically, Rachael died of breast cancer in September 2018 at the age of 40, just six months after the podcast launched.
Rachael’s widower Steve then took her place, and the podcast continued to grow even as Deborah navigated one cancer-related health crisis after another.
Lauren’s struggle with the disease began after she found a lump in her breast in May 2016. She left it that way, hoping it would go away, until a friend urged her to get it checked out.
A few weeks later, she was in a breast clinic and was told she had stage three cancer and an aggressive tumor measuring 2.8 cm in length.
Months of grueling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a lumpectomy followed. By the time everything was clear, she’d set up GirlvsCancer, a vibrant, honest, and relatable blogging platform where women can share their stories.
Last year, Lauren opened up about the “anxiety and sadness, numbness and shock” of losing Deborah. Both pictured in 2020
Rachael’s widower Steve then took her place and the podcast continued to grow. The trio pictured in 2019
In 2018, the site brought her to the attention of BBC journalist Rachael, who had been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in November 2016 and who had come up with the idea of creating a podcast to raise awareness.
A fan of Lauren and Deborah’s work, she asked them to come on board.
It comes as Deborah thanked supporters this month for helping to raise more than £11 million for bowel cancer in the last seven weeks of her life in previously unseen footage from an upcoming documentary about the campaigner.
Never-before-seen video shot shortly before her death shows the so-called Bowel Babe telling her “wonderful” supporters that she is beyond grateful for their donations.
At the same time, she announced that she was receiving end-of-life care and would be cared for at her parents’ home in Surrey.
Lauren, a former social media executive who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 at the age of 31, and the late Rachael were the other two points of this powerful broadcast triangle
A new documentary on the life of Dame Deborah – titled ‘Bowelbabe: In Her Own Words’ – will be broadcast on BBC 2 in the coming weeks, giving fans an intimate insight into the campaigner’s bittersweet journey from living with an incurable disease, to Damehood and to her untimely death.
Deborah’s family and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) have revealed that the former deputy headteacher raised £11.3 million before she passed away.
She also left a video message expressing her gratitude for the success of her campaign and her plans for how the money raised would be used.
“One thing I wanted to do before I died was set up the Bowelbabe fund,” Dame Deborah said in the video. “I wanted to set it up to allow more people to benefit from some of the things that I have benefited from.
“We will ensure that more people have access to personalized medicine, clinical trials, advanced technology to help more and more people live longer with cancer.”
She added, “Every penny counts. I can’t thank you enough for your support of the Bowelbabe fund. You are great.’
CRUK has also announced the first research projects to receive Bowelbabe funding.
One study will look at laying the groundwork for a new precision treatment that could stop the spread of colon cancer. It will be led by Professor Trevor Graham, director of the Center for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
Another project, involving a team of leading scientists, will focus on microbes that can cause colon cancer.
This team has already discovered a type of bacteria that increases the risk of colon cancer in some people under 50 and is investigating whether it is possible to target these bacteria to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Another project, led by Dr Oleg Blyuss of Queen Mary University of London, will look at using artificial intelligence and blood tests to detect the earliest signs of cancer.
At London’s Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital, an advanced IR X-ray machine will also provide better image resolution, allowing more patients to be treated.
The projects announced, totaling around £4 million, are the first round of funding with more projects to be confirmed later this year.