What would Deb do?

How do you follow Deborah James? How do you continue something brilliant that she started – with all of the positivity and joy and life that she crammed into this blog? What comes next?

…It’s got to be easier than organising a 40 car Mini convoy, right?

These are the questions that woke me and kept me awake at 5am this morning – appropriate really as Deb was a very early riser…

Then I ask myself the question that has helped me at various points over the last couple of months (as well as reducing me to a tearful mess!):

“What would Deb do?”

This has been my mantra and has acted as my guiding light through some very dark days.

“What would Deb do?” – Make a cup of tea? (Check)… Flip open the laptop (Check)… Deliver inspirational blog???

Unfortunately in this instance it is no use at all – Deb would have got up, told me that she was going to write a blog and then emailed me her first draft 10 minutes later… and it would be fantastic: compelling, brimming with life and positivity.

Okay – but why did Deb write this blog?

It started as a gift of love – a record for her daughter Grace, so that in the future she could understand Deb’s battles with her health and take strength from Deb’s irrepressible appetite for life.

My Joyful Gut has gone on to touch the hearts of all who have shared Deb’s story and provided encouragement for thousands of people facing similar challenges.

Deb proved that you can achieve incredible things by tackling life – the good and the bad – head on with energy, positivity and a beautiful smile.

Deb was passionate about her cancer employment advice service and in the ‘what-would-Deb-do?’ spirit of things family and friends have agreed that this important, ground-breaking work must continue, including My Joyful Gut.

  • Deb loved a quote – this was on the wall in the hospice and has stayed with me.


Deb is the love of my life, the woman of my dreams, and like many of her family and friends I am struggling with her loss. Ironically, and as painful as it can be, these pages are helping us to cope… in true Deb style, she is still helping other people and through her work we intend to keep this inspirational spirit alive.

Phew, just about done – but what would Deb say?

She’d beam at me and say “see – I knew you could do it!” as if it were never in any doubt… then she would want to know what’s next!

The last word goes to the inimitable, incredible, beautiful and talented Deborah James:

Live your life a day at a time. I don’t live in fear about my future, I’m loving life and living it and it feels great!”




6 thoughts on “What would Deb do?

  1. Hurting for you, Simon.
    I only knew Deb through the cancer connection but from the first time, was gob-smacked by her unbelievable strength and determination not to be beaten by it.
    And she wasn’t.
    OK, she has passed as a result of it.
    But in rising above it and inspiring so many people, groups, businesses and other groups, she hasn’t been the end of anything.
    She was the beginning of a new era of know-how about cancer in the workplace and how organisations the world over can and should regard the place cancer has in our lives now, and beyond.
    She was a trail blazer and a girl many, many of us – whether connected with cancer or not – will love and respect forever.
    Sz xx

    Liked by 1 person

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