Dame Deborah James had a “special gift” that allowed her to have “tough conversations” with the public that would eventually save “countless lives”, a charity boss has said.
The podcaster, who died on Tuesday, became a mentor for Bowel Cancer UK following her diagnosis in 2016 and worked to raise money for charities and raise awareness.
Its chief executive, Genevieve Edwards, told the PA news agency that his legacy will live on through his promotional work.
She said: “Deborah has been an incredible force for good, for our charities and others. She has shed a bright light on bowel cancer since the day of her diagnosis.
“She has not stopped in her relentless efforts to raise awareness. She has raised thousands and thousands of pounds for causes close to her heart and even on the toughest of days personally she has never stopped helping others.
“His star was so bright and he will be missed by many.”
Ms Edwards described Dame Deborah’s legacy as “huge” and said she had never seen so much talk about bowel cancer.
“It has shed a very powerful light on this,” she said.
“But her warmth and her compassion, her energy and her humour, really connected with people and made that something that is often difficult to talk about.
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“That has been her special gift – to connect with others and have those difficult conversations.
“And in doing so inspire people to take action, and it has saved countless lives.”
Ms Edwards encourages the public to heed Dame Deborah’s advice when she encourages them to “check their poo”.
She said: “It’s one of the major symptoms of bowel cancer when something doesn’t feel right for you.
“And she always urged people to take action on anything that doesn’t feel right because we know our bodies best.
“It was the ability to connect with so many people and have a conversation about something that a lot of people find difficult, and maybe not anymore.
“I think it is a remarkable gift. She has been amazing, a truly remarkable woman and she will be greatly missed.”
Also Dame Deborah, Bowl Cancer UK counted Baroness Floella Benjamin, ITN presenter Charlene White and Hollywood star Tom Hardy among its patrons.
Tributes also poured in from cancer support charity Maggie.
Its chief executive, Dame Laura Lee, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the death of Deborah James.
“Deborah did a lot to shed light on a cancer that has always been difficult and embarrassing for people to speak out.
“Their legacy will be that many more people discuss concerns and symptoms with their GP, and we are already seeing people in our centers who have received a diagnosis, thanks to their publicity.”