‘Daft as a Brush’ charity trekker, Brian Burnie,reaches half-way mark on 7,000 mile challenge for cancer patients.

14 months after leaving the Baltic, Gateshead, Brian Burnie has clocked up 3,502 miles on his epic walk to take North East charity, Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, nationwide.
Walking in to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, the 74 year is thrilled with this accomplishment; “Cheryl and I are delighted to reach the half-way mark at Ballycastle, Country Antrim.It’s such a beautiful area. From the Baltic in Gateshead to Ballycastle, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many incredible people, some far from home who’ve had first-hand experience with cancer and the daily difficulties getting to and from hospital.”

Cheryl Burnie, Brian’s wife, has been supporting him from their mobile-base; a double decker bus called ‘Bluebell’. “Brian rarely complains but his challenge has been difficult. Poor weather can create unforgiving conditions.

Walking 15-20 miles a day would be a testing trial for anyone, but Brian is coping with Parkinson’s disease. It is common to become easily tired during walking, even after short distances, but he is so determined to complete his 7,000 mile mission, I am so very proud of him”.

‘Daft a Brush Cancer Patient Care’ transports outpatients, free of charge, to and from hospital, where they are undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy cancer treatment. The charity has been so successful in the region, Brian wants to take the free service all over Great Britain and Ireland.

Brian adds; “Last week I met with professor Joe O’Sullivan at Belfast City Hospital Cancer Centre. To say he is enthusiastic about Daft as a Brush is an understatement, he can’t wait for the service to come to Northern Ireland”

Professor Joe O’Sullivan said: “It’s been incredible to hear the success of the team in delivering transport for patients in Newcastle and I really wish Brian and the Team well on their 7,000 mile walk around Britain and Ireland. We, in Belfast, would look very much forward to engaging and working with Daft as a Brush in due course. We would love to see the good work of this charity coming here to Northern Ireland.”

Welcomed to Belfast City Hospital, Cancer Centre – Professor Joe O’Sullivan meets with Brian to discuss the transport issues faced by patients.

Brian has an old saying; ‘shy-bairns-get-nowt’ – “We drove to Londonderry to see where we could park our Bus on the next ‘hop’ and called in to the North West Cancer Centre to make an appointment. 10 minutes later, we were sitting with Assistant Director of Nursing, Una Cardin, Dr.Mazdai and Dr.Ahmed Bedair, Consultant Oncologists – you cant make this up! They loved the idea of Daft as a Brush coming to Londonderry”.

Dr.Mazdai, Consultant Oncologist “I am pleased to have seen the Team from Daft as a Brush, I know they have been very successful in Newcastle upon Tyne. It would be good to see a successful set-up locally and I would welcome them.”

Brian has met with many Oncologists and Radiographers on his walk through Scotland,Cumbria, Lancashire and North Wales. It will take him another 5 months and 1,700 miles to walk the Island of Ireland before he returns to North Wales later this year. He’s due back in the North East in Autumn 2020.

Brian agrees; “The Daft as a Brush concept has been received so well in Northern Ireland, I am really thrilled. I am looking forward to walking the Wild Atlantic Way in a few weeks time and to highlight the transport issues cancer patients cope with.”

With further appointments and consultations, Brian’s dream of creating 1,000,000 cancer patient journeys is taking shape, one step at a time.


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Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care is a registered charity No. 328432.
Registered as a company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 2333474.