BBC newsreader Rachael Bland’s podcast has reached number one in charts – a day after her heartbreaking final post, revealing she has just days to live.
You, Me And The Big C charts the 40-year-old’s life with breast cancer, alongside her sidekicks and best cancer pals, The Sun’s Deborah James and Lauren Mahon.
The brutally honest podcast aims to put the “CAN in cancer”, and has served as a huge inspiration and source of support for thousands of cancer patients – and their families.
The second series launched just weeks ago – having only ever reached number two in the podcast download charts.
But as news of Rachael’s final post, saying goodbye to all those who have supported her, swept social media the podcast has soared up the charts.
The Sun’s Deborah James, who is living with stage 4 bowel cancer, said: “It’s what Rach has always wanted. It always annoyed her we didn’t quite get the top spot. This will mean the world.”
And Lauren tweeted: “WE DID IT!!! Thank you so much for getting #YouMeBigC to the top for our bae @Rachael_Hodges. We promised you we would Rach x.”
A host of BBC stars urged listeners to download the podcast, to help Rachael realise her dream.
Radio One’s Chris Stark tweeted: “Rather than our podcast can I urge everyone that like what we do to download and subscribe to the #youmebigc podcast.
“None of us EVER want to face this. But if we do, I would want to do this like @Rachael_Hodges.
“Let’s get this to number 1. Let’s show her.”
He added: “Rachael is the very best about what the BBC represents. I am so proud to work on the same platform as this incredible woman.
“If you have five minutes today please read up on one of my favourite broadcasters and what she has done to change the world. Inspirational.”
Rachael shared the crushing news that she has just days to live, after her breast cancer became incurable.
Writing on Twitter yesterday, the 5 Live broadcaster said: “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.”
Signing off her final post with an “Au revoir”, followed by two kisses, Rachael said Deborah and Lauren would continue their inspirational podcast.
Rachael revealed she was in a “race against time” in July, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016.
But, in May this year, she was told her cancer was incurable and her only hopes rested with a clinical trial, to buy her more time with husband Steve and their son, Freddie, three.
Two months later a scan showed her cancer had spread, leaving doctors with few options.
The devoted mum has spent the last few months writing a memoir for Freddie, giving her the chance to say all those things she might miss out on saying as he grows up.
Writing on her blog previously, the presenter told how she was with her two-year-old son Freddie and his friends at an ice cream farm when she was told the cancer was terminal.
She said: “My heart raced as I answered it, knowing a phone call did not bode well.
“Then came the words ‘I am so sorry, it’s bad news. The biopsies have come back showing the same cancer is back and is in the skin’.
“I watched my little Freddie innocently playing away in a tyre in the barn and my heart broke for him.
“I scooped him up and dashed home and then had to break (her husband) Steve’s heart with the news that my cancer was now metastatic and therefore incurable.”
The Sun’s Deborah James, who has stage 4 bowel cancer, shared her heartbreak, as hundreds responded to Rachael’s message.
Deborah said: “Right now, I have few words.
“Rachael, I love you and I’m so proud to call you my friend.”
And harnessing the spirit of her friend, Deborah made a plea to fans of You, Me And The Big C.
She said: “Right now, all I ask is that you go and do something that makes you feel alive.
“That reminds you how lucky you are just to wake up and breathe.
“Cancer can go f*** itself.”
Co-presenter Lauren, who is in remission from breast cancer, tweeted: “Could not be more grateful to have you in my life.
“So proud of you my fabulous friend.
“Love you more than words can say. We’ve got you bubba.”
Fellow BBC presenter Mark Chapman added: “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.”
And Victoria Derbyshire, who has also faced breast cancer, added: “Bloody hell Rachael. Courage, grace, laughter – that’s you. You are amazing x.”
BBC Live breakfast presenter Nicky Campbell’s tweet echoed the thoughts of hundreds.
He said: “You are an astonishing human being. Love to all x.”
Charities including Breast Cancer Care, Bowel Cancer UK and The Eve Appeal added their messages, sending love to Rachael and her family.
Meanwhile, complete strangers have also replied to the presenter’s tweet, thanking her for being an inspiration.
Mark Rose wrote: “I don’t know you but I want to say you have touched so many people and helped all of them.
“Some people live a 100 years without having half the impact you have made on the world.
“I hope everyone you love is with you right now.”
And Sam Walker added: “I’m so shocked and so sorry.
“What a magnificent person you are. You have made the world a better place xx.”