Terminally ill BBC presenter – My dad has to comb my hair now

Every day she moves thousands of people with her brave Instagram posts. The terminally ill BBC presenter Deborah James (40) knows: She doesn’t have long to live, the doctors can’t do anything for her. But she still carries a courageous message into the world: I’m not afraid! Now her strength is fading more and more.

For Father’s Day (19 June in the UK), Deborah revealed who is now one of her biggest supports: her father Alistair. Alongside a photo of her sitting in a chair at her parents’ house, she captioned it: “Happy Father’s Day! Yes, my father is combing my hair now because I no longer have the strength to do it myself.” Her father is standing behind her, holding a pink brush in his right hand and her hair in his left.

Clearly visible: Deborah is badly marked by her incurable colon cancer, is emaciated and weakened. Nevertheless, she finds touching words for the man who has accompanied her all her life.

Opposite the newspaperThe Sun‘ she gushed about her dad: ‘More than ever, my father is an unsung hero. He’s there behind the scenes, making sure I’m okay. He always had a comforting, loving presence in my life. He can handle all my craziness very well. His patience knows no bounds.”

When she was in the hospital for months, he wasn’t even allowed to visit her, Deborah says. Only her mother Heather was allowed to see her – but Alistair patiently drove her to the clinic every day.

Deborah continued: “It must have been awful for him not to be able to visit me. After all, I’m his daughter, too.” It breaks her heart that her parents now have to watch her die.

The thought of her children makes her sad

Deborah also gets emotional when she thinks about her children Hugo (14) and Eloise (12). Not because she’s worried about her, says the presenter: “Seb is a great father, he’s incredible with them. He loves her so much and I know he will love her for me when I’m gone.”

The sadness overcomes her for another reason: “It’s just too hard to think about the fact that I will never see my son as a father. But I’m not worried about what might happen to them.”


Deborah James has end-stage colon cancer. A few weeks ago, the doctors released her with no prospect of a cure. Since then she has been waiting for her death in her parents’ house – and collecting donations for research: With the Bowelbabe Fund she has already collected the equivalent of around 7.8 million euros for British cancer research.

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