rachael-deborah

Rachael Bland's best friend and co-host shares moving open letter following the presenter's death

What a beautiful tribute to Rachael

Fiona Ward

Rachael Bland's close friend and podcast co-host Deborah James, known as @bowelbabe on social media, has written a very moving open letter to the BBC 5live newsreader following her death. The writer and campaigner, who herself has stage 4 bowel cancer, wrote for The Sun's Fabulous: "My darling Rachael, It’s 6am and I’m writing this in floods of tears. Why? Because normally when it’s 6am I text you. I text you to say I think my cancer has gone bonkers and I’m dying. I tell you I can’t breathe. I ask you if you’ve experienced similar pains. I tell you I’m scared."

Rachael, Deborah and Lauren of the podcast You, Me And The Big C

She continues: "You would tell me not to be silly - and that 'you know when you are dying'. All the while, you knew you were dying. Yet you were able to listen to me with intense sympathy, most likely wishing you too had 'options'. Today, instead of your morning message about our chart position or latest death joke, I got a text I knew was coming. It broke my heart to read it, to see in black and white that you're really gone."

MORE: Ronan Keating sends heartfelt message to Rachael Bland after revealing she has days to live

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Deborah, Rachael and fellow pal Lauren Mahon are the trio behind You, Me And The Big C – the BBC podcast that broke ground with its refreshingly frank approach to cancer and everything that comes with it. On Monday, after Rachael announced she had just days to live, her friends and family launched a campaign to get it to number one on the downloads chart – something they achieved, and that Rachael was happy to learn of before she died on Wednesday.

 

My darling Rachael - you came into my life in the darkest of times and you helped me find light. Together we laughed in the face of Cancer, and created something amazing with the brilliant crew that is @girlstolelondon @mikerholt12 @alenty and @bbc5live. It has helped so many others and for which you should be incredibly proud. I am - I’m proud to call you my friend and to have been part of this incredible experience with you. : Today I got the message I was hoping not to get - and yet somehow I’m at peace knowing you are at peace. I cried and I went to the most beautiful spot in Richmond hill. I sat there and I wrote a letter to you. : Please read it. (Bio and link below). Rachael I love you and it breaks my heart that as I write with tears, thinking of you, Steve and Freddie - all I really want is to text you the most brilliant death joke I can find! : Always and forever. Thank you. Deborah x : https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7180766/rachael-bland-changed-how-we-talk-cancer-legacy/ : #youmebigc @fabulousmag @thesun #pleaseshare #iloveyou #fuckyoucancer #cancer #rachaelbland #radio5live

A post shared by Deborah James (@bowelbabe) on

Deborah also touched on Rachael's unwavering ability to poke fun at her disease, even when it was at its most terrifying. "When my cancer came back, you were the first person I called… We talked about how life can be so damn unfair, how you wouldn't get to see Freddie grow up, or even make his first day at school.

READ MORE: BBC presenter Rachael Bland talks candidly about her incurable breast cancer diagnosis

"But, you didn't let either of us dwell on the fear. Instead, you instantly turned our sadness into a debate over if we should re-name the podcast Til Death Do Us Part. You sent me a barrage of death jokes, gifs of dancing grim reapers and asked if we should try for a 2 for 1 deal on funerals. You were the only reason I was able to laugh through that darkness."

Read Deborah's full letter here.

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