Deborah James AKA @bowelbabe was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2016, aged 35, while working as a deputy head teacher. She shares her story and explains why the money raised from your Stand Up To Cancer baking event, gives people like her, hope.

Deborah and her daughter looking at the camera smiling

Cancer isn’t a swear-word in our house. It’s become part of our lives. It’s been two years since I was diagnosed. I’m very aware of how lucky I am to still be here. I’ve already outlived my prognosis. When bowel cancer is caught at stage 4, as mine was, it means it has spread to other areas of the body and is harder to treat. I was told the chance of surviving for five years was less than 8%.

It took me quite a long time to get diagnosed

I had the typical symptoms of a change of bowel habits: I was passing blood in my poo, I was losing weight, I was really tired… but isn’t everybody tired? I was, and still am, a busy working mum of two children.

Six months later it was not only discovered that I had a 6.5 cm tumour in my bowel, I also had seven tumours in my lungs. I was blindsided. Your world just falls apart when somebody tells you that you have cancer. It's very hard to come to terms with what that means. I’ve had operations on my bowel and on my lungs. It’s something you kind of get used to. You have to.

I am now living with cancer

I've chosen to make it as much of a positive journey as I can. I recognise the importance of things that I never appreciated before. My children are really supportive. They actually get to see more of me now as I've gone from being a full-time working mum to having a bit more flexibility over what I'm doing. I hope to continue spending more time living, more time laughing and more time just enjoying each moment that I get, but I can only do that because of research that is keeping me, and others like me, alive.

Funding research gives me hope

Hope in the shape of incredible scientists, researchers, doctors and nurses, who are working to achieve amazing things - right now. Their work is what could give people like me a chance at outsmarting this disease. It gives me hope of a future that on paper I don’t actually have.

Every penny raised from your Stand Up To Cancer baking event will help make sure there is more early diagnosis, more options, more treatment and more research to give people like me more time.

Help fund life-saving research and make a difference to the lives of people like Deborah.

Get your free fundraising pack today – it's full of everything you need to host your own baking fundraiser.

Get your free pack