Charity founder Brian Burnie arrives in Sligo on a 2,000 mile, six month hike to bring free cancer patient transport to the Emerald Isle.
He’s walked over 3,500 miles around the coastline of Scotland, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and North Wales. Today, Brian Burnie, 75, arrived in Sligo to continue his 7,000 mile walk around Ireland and Great Britain.
Recently married, Brian and Cheryl are sleeping in a converted double decker Bus called “Bluebell” for the next 2 years on their challenge to create one million free cancer patient journeys nationwide.
Cheryl has been supporting him from their mobile-base; “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”.
Hugely successful in the North East of England, ‘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. As there are substantial demands for the service in the region, Brian wants to take the free service all over Great Britain and Ireland.
Brian adds; “Last month 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. I also met with Assistant Director of Nursing, Una Cardin, Dr.Mazdai and Dr.Ahmed Bedair, Consultant Oncologists at Londonderry Hospital – They loved the idea of Daft as a Brush coming to Derry and helping patients travel vast distances that currently takes many hours on public transport”.
Bluebell Bus has been accommodated by Bus Éireann starting in the centre of Dublin moving to Letterkenny and now Westport; Technical Manager – Engineering, Ray Connolly is happy to help; “When we first heard about Brian’s walk for cancer patients, we immediately wanted to offer support. The team at Bus Éireann are delighted to help in anyway we can and we wish Brian good luck walking the entire coastline of Ireland.”
Brian is exceptionally grateful “I can’t believe the kindness and generosity from everyone at Bus Éireann, they really are incredibly good to us. We’ve met some people on this walk to date, but the people of Ireland have given us amazing support and encouragement. Kevin O’Donnell, Maintenance Manager from Stranorlar Bus Éireann Depot, actually drove Bluebell Bus all the way to Westport from Letterkenny in his own time for our next stage of the walk. I am thrilled!”
We’re arranging appointments with Oncologists and Radiographers in Ireland to discuss the charity’s services and possible integration in the region. One thing I’ve heard so many times on the walk, is that patients struggle with transport to and from hospital on a daily basis. In the North East of England we’re part of their journey to recovery – let’s bring the free service to patients all over Great Britain and Ireland.”
With appointments in Sligo and Galway University Hospitals, Brian’s dream could be coming a reality – one step at a time.
Brian and Cheryl’s goal to create 1,000,000 free cancer patient journeys on his 7,000 mile walk is starting to take-shape. With over 3,500 miles walked, he’s prepared for another 1,000 miles in Ireland and another 2,000 back to the North East in late 2020.
Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, Daft as a Brush House,Great North Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 2DR – Tel: 00 44 191 28 55 999