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Dame Deborah James urges more companies to signpost bowel cancer symptoms on toilet rolls


Dame Deborah James urges more companies to signpost bowel cancer symptoms on toilet rolls

Dame Deborah James has called on big companies to “signpost information” on bowel cancer on loo rolls, following in the footsteps of a new initiative by Marks & Spencer.

No Butts campaign supporter Lorraine Kelly was joined yesterday in the studio by Cara Hoofe, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 aged 32. Inspired by her friend Dame Deborah, she pitched the idea of putting signs and symptoms on loo roll packaging to her employer M&S, and they said yes.

“I’m over the moon, I don’t really have words to describe how I feel about M&S, my company doing this to raise awareness around bowel cancer, especially because we’ve got such a huge customer base as well,” said Cara.

Cara explained how Dame Deborah has been a huge inspiration to her – with signage also going up in both customer and staff toilets at M&S.

“I met Deborah in the earlier days of her diagnosis through Bowel Cancer UK, I think one of the first times we met in person was at a carol concert for the charity where she was speaking,”

“We’ve kept in contact through messaging throughout our treatment and she’s been a support to me and I really hope I’ve been a support to her as well. This whole idea for the loo roll came off the back of how Deborah carries herself in everyday life. I’m probably a little more reserved than Deborah and follow processes, and when I submitted the idea, I sat there and thought, ‘She’d just tell me, “It’s not good enough. What can we do?”‘ I then swiftly got in touch with our chairman and CEOs and tried to create a noise around it and it worked.”

In a video message, Dame Deborah said:

“Congratulations, Cara. I’m so pleased that you are talking about the hard work you have put in and what you have achieved. I know we’ve both gone through bowel cancer and we’ve spoken so many times about getting the signs and symptoms on loo roll. But you finally did it. And I am really, really proud of you for doing that.

“It’s the start of things to come. I think we should do a big shout out to other companies now saying, like, ‘Where’s your signs and symptoms? Forget about the puppies – I’m bored of the puppies. We need actual information signposted on those loo rolls. So I’m hoping that lots of other big brands will now go, ‘Yeah, hang on. This makes massive sense. This is what we need to be doing.’ So I can’t wait to see that happen. And a massive, massive well done to you.”

To watch the interview and show in full visit Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV.

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