Who Cares Wins Awards will be too late for me – but please nominate your health heroes in my memory, says Deborah James

Who Cares Wins Awards will be too late for me – but please nominate your health heroes in my memory, says Deborah James Who Cares Wins Awards will be too late for me – but please nominate your health heroes in my memory, says Deborah James

DAME Deborah James today urges readers to ”big-up” their own healthcare heroes by nominating them for The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards.

Sun columnist “Dame Debs” is a long-time supporter and judge of our annual awards which honour the extraordinary people that keep our health service running, from cleaners to porters, nurses to doctors and paramedics.

Guilhem Baker - The Sun
A grateful Deborah with some of the health team who treated her at The Royal Marsden hospital, in 2019[/caption]
Tim Stewart
Dame Deborah James urges readers to nominate healthcare heroes for The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards[/caption]
Dame Deborah James, pictured with husband Sebastien Bowen, is a long-time supporter and judge of our annual awards[/caption]

Last year’s awards saw nominees honoured by Prince William, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and David Beckham in a star-studded ceremony screened on Channel 4 and hosted by Davina McCall.

And as we open nominations for our fifth Who Cares Wins Awards, Deborah urges YOU to share the stories of the healthcare heroes who have made a difference in your life.

The former deputy head teacher, who is receiving end-of-life care after being diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2017, said: “I am in awe of the NHS, The Who Cares Wins Awards are the perfect opportunity to ‘big up’ heroes like these.

“Over the years I’ve been so honoured to be a judge at the awards, present awards and meet all the incredible nominees. It’s an incredible event and gives us all the chance to give our NHS heroes the recognition they deserve.

Nominate your NHS hero here

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“It goes without saying that I will forever be in debt to the incredible team that have cared for me at The Royal Marsden hospital in Surrey.

“No one doctor, nurse or specialist has kept me alive for the last five years, it’s taken an army.

“I owe my five years to the team at The Royal Marsden who told me they would throw the kitchen sink at my cancer, and never gave up

“From the receptionists greeting me with a smile to the porters calming me down mid-panic attack en route to my scans, to the nurses holding my hands through chemo, the surgeons who have blasted countless tumours, and my oncologist, who’s overseen it all, they’ve all got me this far.

“I am so grateful to have the peace of knowing that we tried everything, they left no stone unturned.”

Dame Debs, who has son Hugo, 14, and 12-year-old daughter Eloise with husband Sebastien Bowen, added: “They gave me precious more time with my family, and for that we will all be forever grateful.”

Earlier this week Prince William visited the team who treated Debs at the Royal Marsden Hospital, in Chelsea, West London. He told the NHS team that presenting her with her Damehood earlier this month had been “a very special moment”

The launch of this year’s Who Cares Wins Awards is tinged with sadness as Deborah, who is being cared for by a hospice team at her parents’ home in Woking, knows she is unlikely to live long enough to see the ceremony.

She said: “I’m gutted I’ll miss this year’s Awards, the chance to dress up and dance and say my thank yous in person. Wherever I might be, I will be raising a glass and watching over you all.”

After her diagnosis, Dame Debs started sharing her journey on an online blog called Bowelbabe and in her Sun column, Things Cancer Made Me Say.

‘Recognition they deserve’

The 40-year-old said: “My story isn’t one of sadness, it’s a celebration of getting to live for five years with incurable cancer, I’ve been so lucky. I was told I might not live to see my first Christmas after being diagnosed, but I defied the odds.

“How? A big dose of rebellious hope and a team of incredible medics who never gave up on me.

“There’s a saying, ‘Behind every great man, there’s a great woman’. Well behind every stage 4 cancer patient, there’s a heroic team of medics and support staff doing their job.”

It’s those jobs that Dame Debs wants you, Sun readers, to recognise by nominating your heroes.

Whether it is your local GP who refused to give up, the paramedic who brought you back to life or the hospital porter who went beyond the call of duty, we want to hear from YOU.

Dame Debs said: “Please, nominate your NHS heroes, show them how much they mean to us all, and let us all thank them.

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“And to all those NHS workers who have been there for me over the last five years, I just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

Find out how to nominate your NHS heroes below. The closing date for entries is July 12.

Who Cares Wins Awards

THE Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards is back – and we need YOU to nominate your health heroes.

Our annual awards, in partnership with NHS Charities Together, honour the extraordinary people that keep our health service running, from cleaners to porters, nurses to doctors and paramedics.

And this year we have another extra special awards night planned.

So if there is someone who has helped you or your family who deserves recognition for their incredible work, this is your chance to say thank you.

Nominations should be for help you have received in the past 12 months, unless it is for an individual’s hard work over many years.

The closing date for entries is July 12 this year.

Public support is vital – By Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together

THE NHS is the backbone of this country, with staff its beating heart, and it has had yet another heroic year.

Our workforce has had a mountain to climb, with immense pressure on our services, lengthy waiting lists alongside high expectations to recover from the pandemic without a break.

As the national, independent charity caring for the NHS, our research showed that eight in ten NHS staff (81 per cent) believe that increasing pressures on NHS services are as concerning as the peak of the Covid pandemic.

We know the public still feel an overwhelming pride and affection for the health service.

Having this bedrock of support is so important to our health workers, who have gone above and beyond as the service embarks upon a long road to recovery.

Every one of us has a reason to be thankful to the NHS, and having the opportunity to celebrate some of our heroes for the Who Cares Wins Awards is incredibly special.

We want to thank all of our healthcare workforce, from every section of the NHS – from the brave nurses, doctors and paramedics on the front line, to the essential staff behind the scenes that keep everything running, to those volunteering to support their local services.

Every person went to extraordinary lengths to keep us all going and care for us in the pandemic, and continue to help us today – and beyond.

Paul Edwards
Prince William presents Deena Evans with her 999 Hero award[/caption]
Paul Edwards
Winner Charmaine George with her Mental Health Hero 2021 award[/caption]
Graham Prentice
Deborah James, pictured with family, receives her Damehood from Prince William[/caption]
Louis Wood
‘Dame Debs’ at last year’s Who Cares Wins awards[/caption]
The closing date for entries is July 12

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