The new Big Bus has been brought to life thanks to the generous support from Principal Funder Walk the Walk, a UK breast cancer charity who have provided £360,000 in funding and £50,000 each from The Garfield Weston Foundation, Ulster Garden Villages and The McClay Foundation.
In the next year, Action Cancer’s long-term partners Musgrave NI will aim to generate £150,000 in fundraising, through its SuperValu and Centra stores and head office colleagues, to keep the wheels of the new Big Bus turning.
The new Big Bus will, over the next year, travel to 200 locations across Northern Ireland, delivering 2,000 health checks (men and women 16+) and 5,000 breast screenings (women aged 40-49 and over the age of 70; outside of NHS screening age range). Action Cancer has adapted its services during the Covid-19 pandemic so that these can be delivered safely on board the bus, face-to-face with the use of PPE and stringent sanitising measures (in line with government guidelines).
This May Day Bank Holiday weekend, SuperValu and Centra stores across Northern Ireland are taking part in a Donation Drive, in aid of the new Big Bus which will have its first visit at McCool’s SuperValu in Kells on Saturday 1st May.
Gareth Kirk, Chief Executive of Action Cancer said: “The launch of the new Big Bus marks an outstanding milestone in Action Cancer’s history. The new vehicle carries on the legacy of the first Big Bus, saving lives and supporting people throughout NI for the next 15 years. We are grateful to have successfully delivered the new Big Bus to serve local people, in spite of the challenges brought on by the Pandemic. This would not have been possible without the support from our generous funders and the ongoing support of the staff and customers of Musgrave NI, SuperValu and Centra. Thank you for bringing our dream of a new Big Bus into reality.”
Trevor Magill, MD of Musgrave NI said: “Our partnership with Action Cancer has been going strong for over 15 years with over £3.3 million of funds raised by our fantastic retailers, customers and colleagues. We are delighted to be part of the next stage of the Big Bus journey, helping people in communities all across Northern Ireland. If you are shopping in one of our SuperValu or Centra stores this weekend, please consider supporting us in our fundraising efforts.”
Action Cancer Ambassador Elaine Loughlin from Poyntzpass whose breast cancer was detected on board the charity’s original bus said: “I believe that Action Cancer’s Big Bus saved my life. At the age of 45, my breast cancer was detected at an early and treatable stage. Thanks to this free service provided by Action Cancer, I’m still here, still alive to be mum to my three beautiful boys; Ben (20), Toby (18) and Rory (12).”
Action Cancer's Chief Executive Gareth Kirk is joined by Managing Director of Musgrave NI Trevor Magill (long-term charity partner of Action Cancer) and Elaine Loughlin, a breast cancer survivor from Poyntzpass, to mark the launch of the charity's new Big Bus mobile screening and health check unit.