5,000,000 steps and 10 months – charity founder Brian Burnie, steps back in to England on epic walk for cancer patient transport.

He’s been through 5 pairs of boots in 10 months and taken 5,000,000 steps to walk 2,500 miles around the coast of Northumberland and Scotland. Brian Burnie, founder of the cancer charity ‘Daft as a Brush’, has stepped back in to England at Gretna on his 7,000 mile challenge to bring free cancer patient transport across Great Britain and Ireland.

Brian and his wife Cheryl, left Newcastle on 5th March 2018 from the Baltic, Gateshead to raise awareness, promote and expand the Gosforth based Charity. He crossed the River Sark at Gretna cheered on by charity volunteers and supporters.

“To see so many smiling faces cheering me over the border at Gretna was very emotional. Cheryl and I were met by dozens of volunteers and local people, it was very moving for us. I am delighted to have reached 2,500 miles but in a way, sad to leave Scotland behind. I’ve seen fantastic coastline and met some truly unbelievable people; many with close associations with cancer. But my walk must continue and I am looking forward to Cumbria and meeting with delegates from the Cumbria Infirmary to discuss the Daft as a Brush Service for their cancer patients.”

Brian’s walk around the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland has not been without it difficulties. The 74 year old suffers from Parkinson’s disease making his challenge even more tiring, yet he’s determined to complete this 3 year mission; Brian explains: “The Newcastle based charity transports some 40,000 cancer patients each year with a team of over 350 volunteers. Time and time again we hear how difficult and stressful it is for patients getting to and from hospital. It is my dream to create 1,000,000 bespoke cancer patient journeys all over Great Britain and Ireland.”

Brian and Cheryl have met with major cancer hospitals throughout Scotland; Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Ninewells in Dundee, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Raigmore Inverness and the Beatson in Glasgow. Brian is delighted with the feedback from Oncologists, Radiographers and medical teams; “The response from Scotland has been absolutely incredible!”

Natural England will be offering support and advice to the charity trekker as he approaches the west coast of the Lake District. For now, Brian may have his feet-up for a few days, but he won’t be relaxing for too long.

“I’ve been walking every day for over 3 weeks, sometimes up to 20 miles a day. That’s taken a toll on my feet. I have come back to Newcastle to see my Podiatrist, Shirley Stevenson in Gosforth. She’s been looking after my feet from the very start”.

Brian’s dream to take the charity nationwide could be turning in to a reality, one step at a time. They will be back on the walk very soon, along with a double-decker bus, named ‘Bluebell’, their mobile-home for the next 2 years.

Images by kind permission of Tony Iley.