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The TelegraphVerified account @Telegraph 23 minutes ago
#Breaking: Rachael Bland, BBC presenter and cancer blogger, dies aged 40
“Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/05/rachael-bland-bbc-presenter-cancer-blogger-dies-two-days-bidding/ …
Rachael Bland, BBC presenter and cancer blogger, dies two days after bidding ‘au revoir’ to friends
BBC news presenter Rachael Bland has died aged 40 just two days after bidding “au revoir” to her friends, revealing she only had days left to live having been diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
The journalist who had been at the BBC for more than 15 years, has been widely praised for the You Me and The Big C podcast following her breast cancer treatment.
Her family confirmed that she had died this morning shortly after 3am, and Bland’s husband Steve told the BBC “Rachael’s death has left a huge hole in our perfect little family that we’ll never be able to fill.
“She was an incredibly talented broadcaster as well as a wonderful and much-loved daughter, sister, aunt, niece, wife and, most importantly to her, a mother to her precious little Freddie.
“We all take such huge comfort and pride from the amazing and tireless work she has done since her diagnosis to reduce the stigma around cancer and prove that it is possible to live life to the fullest even when facing huge challenges on a daily basis. At the end, even though her body was at its weakest, her voice was at its strongest and most powerful.
“Rachael was and will always be an incredible inspiration to everyone she met. To us, she was perfect in every way and we will miss her more than words can say.
“We just ask that everyone respects our family’s privacy as we try and come to terms with losing our beautiful girl.”
A post on Bland’s official Twitter account said: “Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You’ll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie”.
Her friend and colleague Tony Livesey said: “5Live’s lost one of its brightest spirits. I’m going into cliche territory now so she’ll be pressing an alarm somewhere, but she was beautiful inside and out. She was such a lovely person.
“Rachael Bland – presenter, friend to most of us, inspiration to all. Radio 5 Live is broadcasting with a broken heart. We’ve lost one of our brightest talents.”
In a statement on the social media site on Monday afternoon, she wrote: “In the words of the legendary Frank S – I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days.
“It’s very surreal. Thank you so much for all the support I’ve received. Debs and Lozz will continue with the You Me and The Big C podcast. Au revoir my friends.”
Writing in The Telegraph last month, she told how the cancer had spread around multiple lymph nodes in her upper body, into her skin and liver.
She said: “We still had some hope of holding back the tide for a while, but no one survives metastatic breast cancer long term.
“I’ve not asked how long I have left, because I don’t want a number in my head that I’m counting down to. It’s only ever a best guesstimate – but I’ve got less than a year.”
Colleagues responded with messages of support for the popular presenter, with Juliette Ferrington writing: “Oh my goodness Rachael, sending you a bomb of love, strength and peace. In absolute awe of your courage, determination and willingness to fight every single day. Lots of love,” signing off her tweet with two kisses.
BBC’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, whose own wife Emma was given the all clear after her breast cancer diagnosis, tweeted his thoughts.
He said: “And then reality suddenly bites and perspective gained. This is awful. No words, other than love to you and Steve (husband).”
Bland’s Radio 5 colleague Richard Bacon also offered support on Twitter, writing: “Days. Devastating. Rachael I know saying I’m thinking of you (and our magnificent time together on air, especially all that late night fun) doesn’t change anything.
“But I am and I’m so very sorry. Your podcast has helped change the way people talk about all this. You’re wonderful.”
Comedian Justin Moorhouse, a regular panelist on BBC shows including 5Live’s Fighting Talk, simply wrote: “All the love in the world.”
And fellow BBC journalist Jennie Gow wrote: “You have been such an inspiration both before and now and with everything you have done… forever more.”
Mark Chapman, one of the BBC’s leading sports radio anchors, said: “Oh Rachael. I am so very sorry. What you have done has been amazing and helped so many. Sending so much love to you, Steve and Freddie (son, three).”
Writing for The Telegraph on August 11, she said: “I’m not scared of dying. I only fear for those I leave behind. For my darling Freddie, who’ll be three next month, for Steve and our families.
“Even now, knowing the ‘no options left’ conversation is coming, I can’t crumble and fall to pieces.
“I have to suppress a lot of the darkest thoughts about Freddie growing up without his mummy around. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the precious times we have left together.”
Dozens of well-wishers thanked Ms Bland for both her podcast which she hosts alongside Lauren Mahon and Deborah James and her blog, Big C Little Me.
Financial journalist Steph McGovern was among those singing her praises, and wrote: “Rachael, I am so gutted for you and your family.
“The podcast has clearly helped so many people and you did it with such style, humour and bloody brilliance. Thank you for everything you have done.”
Others to offer their support were singer Ronan Keating, BBC’s Chris Warburton and Chris Mason, Olympian Greg Rutherford and a host of listeners going through their own cancer treatment.
You Me and The Big C co-host Deborah James simply wrote: “No words right now – just heartbreak.”
Episodes Episode guide
#YouMeBigC: Rachael’s story
“Weird soreness… wasn’t even in my breast” : Rachael talks waiting rooms and diagnosis.
#YouMeBigC: Deborah’s story
“There’s nothing pink about my cancer, it’s just brown!” : Deborah on her bowel cancer.
#YouMeBigC: Lauren’s story
“Does that feel normal to you?” : Lauren Mahon talks finding a lump on her breast.
About The Pain
A consultant in pain medicine joins Rachael, Deborah and Lauren to discuss cancer pain.
About the Nearest and Dearest
Emma & Jonathan Agnew join the girls to discuss the impact of cancer on your loved ones.
About The Money
Macmillan expert shares tips on dealing with financial pressures of living with cancer.
About The Kids
Olympian Steve Parry joins #youmebigc as they talk about fertility and their children.
About The Future
Medical professionals from The Christie & Royal Marsden talk future of cancer treatment.
About The Friends
Rachael reveals some bad news and the team talk about friends’ reactions to their cancer.
About The Doctors
John Hartson and Rachael’s surgeon join the team to talk relationships with doctors.
About The Chemo
The #youmebigc team talk about their experiences before, during and after chemotherapy.
About The Alternatives
Jules Peters and a Cancer Research UK nurse join the girls to talk alternative therapies.
Actor Greg Wise joins the girls to discuss why people have problems talking about death.
About Dating and Intimacy
The girls discuss how cancer has had an impact on dating and intimacy with their partners
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