He’s walked 3,897 miles around the coastline of Scotland, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, North Wales and Ireland. This week, Brian Burnie, 75, will walk into County Cork hiking towards Skibbereen on his 7,000 mile walk around Ireland and Britain.
The Ex-millionaire gave it all away to start the North East based charity, ‘Daft a Brush Cancer Patient Care’. The charity offers cancer patients free transport to and from hospital, who are undergoing Chemotherapy and / or Radiotherapy cancer treatment.
The charity provides 40,000 cancer patient journeys annually by a team of 350 volunteers and was set-up by Brian in 2010. He is walking 7,000 miles to take the service nationwide, his dream is to create 1,000,000 free cancer patient journeys.
Walking from Derry, Brian is thrilled with the support and encouragement from local people;
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many incredible people, many with first-hand experience of cancer and the daily difficulties getting to and from hospital. Our recent meeting at University Hospital Galway with Oncologists and Radiographers was so positive, I am very excited at the prospect of bringing the ‘Daft as a Brush’ Service to Ireland”.
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”.
Brian and Cheryl have been on the road since 5th March 2018, with Bluebell Bus. Married on the Isle of Skye they’re celebrating their first wedding anniversary this month!
‘Bluebell Bus’ has been kindly accommodated by Bus Éireann in Skibbereen and at various depots throughout the island of Ireland. Ronan Tully, Head of engineering; “When we first heard about Brian’s walk for cancer patients, we wanted to offer our support. The team at Bus Éireann are delighted to help in anyway we can and we wish Brian and Cheryl all the best on their incredible challenge.”
Brian is walking to Skibbereen, around the coast to Cork and back to Dublin for mid-September. His walk will then continue through Wales, the South Coast and back to the North East by Christmas 2020. He will notch-up around 2,000 miles walked around the island of Ireland and a total of over 7,000 on completion.
But Brian will be sad to leave the Emerald Isle; “The walk has been absolutely stunning in Ireland. I never knew the Irish Coast was so spectacular – I’m looking forward to the beautiful cliff walks in County Cork. The ‘Daft as a Brush’ concept has been really well received in Ireland, I am determined to highlight the difficult transport issues cancer patients cope with throughout their treatment.”
With further appointments with Oncologists and medical professionals in Cork and Dublin, Brian’s dream of creating 1,000,000 cancer patient journeys is taking shape, one step at a time.