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Tom Parker’s wife Kelsey has paid tribute to Dame Deborah James after the campaigner lost her battle with bower cancer.
Dame Deborah, known globally as BowelBabe thanks to the nickname she gave herself during her cancer research fundraising, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer days before Christmas in 2016 – and defied doctor’s warnings she only had an eight percent chance of living beyond 2021.
It was announced on Tuesday that Dame Deborah had died peacefully at home at the age of 40 while surrounded by family and Kelsey took to Instagram this week to pay tribute, writing that late The Wanted singer Tom would be ‘waiting with a glass of something’ in heaven.
Heartfelt: Tom Parker’s wife Kelsey has paid tribute to Dame Deborah James after the campaigner lost her battle with bower cancer
Sharing a picture of Dame Deborah on her Instagram Stories, Kelsey wrote: ‘My Tom will be waiting with a glass of something special for you Deborah.
‘What an incredible lady… find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets and always, always have rebellious hope. RIP Dame Deborah James.’
Announcing the sad news that Dame Deborah had died this week, her family wrote on social media: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy.
‘Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family,’
A place in heaven: Kelsey took to Instagram this week to pay tribute, writing that late The Wanted singer Tom would be ‘waiting with a glass of something’ in heaven
Mother to Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, with her husband of 13 years Seb, Dame Deborah was hailed an ‘inspiration’ by her legions of fans after she candidly shared her cancer struggles on social media, and as a presenter on Radio 5 Live’s You, Me and the Big C.
On May 9, she shared a goodbye message by saying she was being moved into hospice-at-home care to be surrounded by family as ‘my body simply isn’t playing ball’.
The avid runner – who raised a fortune for cancer research by doing marathons and charity races – insisted she had left ‘no stone unturned’ in her hunt for a ‘magic medicine miracle’.
Sickness: Dame Deborah (pictured with her children) was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer days before Christmas in 2016 and defied doctor’s warnings she only had an eight percent chance of living beyond 2021
Her Bowelbabe Fund for cancer research was flooded with more than £6.5 million in donations and she was famously made a dame by the Duke of Cambridge at her family home, with dad-of-three Prince William, 40, praising her for ‘going above and beyond’ to leave ‘a very special memory’ as her legacy.
Kelsey’s late husband Tom died in March aged 33 after battling a brain tumour and Kelsey Parker is planning a lasting tribute to her late spouse so she, his mother Noreen and their children Aurelia, who turns four this week, and Bodhi, 20 months, can always keep him close to their hearts.
Tom died just a week after appearing on stage with his bandmates on their reunion tour and Kelsey admitted she was ‘shocked’ that he died so quickly, though she thinks the Glad You Came’ singer would have been pleased she didn’t have to see him suffer for too long.
RIP: The Wanted star, who tragically lost his battle with brain cancer in March aged 33, left behind daughter Aurelia, two and 20-month-old Bodhi (pictured in 2021)
She previously told OK! magazine: ‘It happened really quick. This isn’t the way I thought things were going to happen. He literally came off that tour and went downhill. I was so shocked – I was beside myself because it happened within a week.
‘But I do think that is typical Tom style. He didn’t want to put me through misery, it’s like he was like, “Right let’s just get this done really quick as well. I’ve ticked the box with the tour and I’m going to go now.”
‘I say he lived life quick, even his death was quick. Those first couple of weeks after he died, I was just in massive shock.’
And Kelsey thinks Tom – who was given his diagnosis in October 2020 – was ‘massively shocked’ by his rapid decline.
Meanwhile, Kelsey plans to get Tom’s ashes made into jewellery for herself and her children to keep.
She said: ‘It will be something really special the kids can have and it will be given to them at a certain time, but I don’t know when yet.’
‘It will be something really special’: Tom Parker’s widow Kelsey has revealed she will have her late husband’s ashes made into jewellery for their children