Dame Deborah James has revealed the heartbreakingly beautiful ways she will celebrate family milestones for years to come.  

Columnist Deborah, 40, has taken the public on her journey since first being diagnosed with stage-four bowel cancer in 2016 through her social media accounts and BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C.

A nightmare no mother should have to endure, she previously told of her fears of not seeing her children go to secondary school or reaching her 40th birthday - all milestones she was able to celebrate. 

But now the podcast host and presenter has shared how she plans on being there with her family for milestones to come. 

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The former deputy-head teacher has been moved from supportive care to end-of-life care and is spending her final days surrounded by family at her parents' home. 

In an interview with The Times, which was published on Thursday (May 12), Deborah said: "It’s been hideous telling my children. We have had a string of emotional conversations that have escalated very quickly from supportive care to end-of-life care.

"My husband Sebastien has been incredible, he has dropped everything and is with me 24/7. My first thought was that I don’t want my children to see me like this. I didn’t think I would be able to speak to them without crying, but I’d love one last cuddle with them.”

Deborah said that she feels "very calm" that her children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, will be looked after and was thankful for lockdown giving them time together like never before.

"I watched every moment of them growing up in our little bubble and that makes up for some of the years I will lose." she said.

She also told The Times that she has written her children letters that they can open when they reach milestone events in their lives: “It’s hard to work out what to do: you don’t want to rip off the band-aid every birthday and ruin it for them. But at the same time I want them to have letters at milestones, and funny messages.

"Here’s my advice on your wedding day, what to do on a first date. I used to hate the idea of a memory box, but I’ve just ordered a blue and a pink one.

"I know materialistic things don’t matter, but I want to buy Hugo a nice pen or wallet or cufflinks. I’m going to buy my daughter some Tiffany bracelets and earrings.

"They will have all the memories, but I want them to have a few presents in the future.

"I also want to write them postcards, but I have to be honest, I get really tired.”

She has also given her husband Sebastien a "strict" set of instructions to move on and get married again, but has warned him: "Don’t be taken for a ride, don’t marry a bimbo, find someone else who can make you laugh like we did."

Bowelbabe Fund raises more than £4m

The 40-year-old, known online as Bowel Babe after campaigning to raise awareness of the disease, has so far raised more than 16 times her original £250,000 goal for Cancer Research UK.

It comes after Number 10 announced she has been honoured with a damehood for her “tireless campaigning” on the issue.

James reached the milestone on Friday morning after donations from more than 220,000 supporters, including high-profile figures such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Her Just Giving page said it is “raising money to fund clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer”.

On Thursday night, Number 10 confirmed that James had been conferred a damehood.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it.

“Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.

“Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone.

“I hope this recognition from Her Majesty – backed, I’m sure, by the whole country – will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time. My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.”

“I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.”

Speaking about the damehood, James told The Sun: “I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured.