Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK raises £11m in one year

05 Apr 2023 News

Dame Deborah James

Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

The Bowelbabe Fund created in memory of Deborah James has raised £11.3m for Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in less than a year. 

James, who was known as Bowelbabe online, launched the fundraiser last May with a target of £250,000 which was surpassed within 24 hours. By the time she died on 28 June 2022, the fund had raised £7m. 

Some £4m of the funding will go towards laying the foundations for new precision treatments that could stop cancer spread, targeting microbes that may cause bowel cancer, and bowel cancer awareness roadshows.

The money will also fund artificial intelligence and blood tests that detect the earliest signs of cancer and a new advanced interventional radiology machine at the Royal Marsden. More projects are due to be confirmed later this year. 

CRUK: ‘Continuing Deborah’s legacy’ 

James was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 35. She was a campaigner and fundraiser who raised awareness of the condition. 

Chief executive of Cancer Research UK Michelle Mitchell said: “Dame Deborah James was a force of nature, doing all she could to raise awareness, fundraise and campaign. The overwhelming support the fund has received is a true testament to how many lives she touched.

“We’re deeply honoured to be working with Deborah’s family to continue her legacy through the Bowelbabe Fund and are grateful to everyone who has donated. The fund will be fuelled by Deborah’s spirit of rebellious hope, and the projects announced today are the first step in continuing Dame Deborah’s legacy to bring hope for a better future for people affected by cancer.”

The charity is asking fundraisers to take part in a new event, Race for Life for Bowelbabe, this year.

Deborah James’ husband Sebastien Bowen, said: “I’m immensely proud and humbled to continue the work that Deborah started. As a family, we’ve been overwhelmed by all the support the fund has received, and to raise £11.3m is just incredible.

“We’ve taken some time to select the first round of funded projects, and are pleased to announce them today. There is some fantastic, cutting-edge bowel cancer research and brilliant awareness activity taking place, and we know that Deborah would be behind this every step of the way.”

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