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Action Cancer and Musgrave NI launch new Big Bus

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Gareth Kirk, chief executive, Action Cancer; Elaine Loughlin, a breast cancer survivor from Poyntzpass; and Trevor Magill, managing director, Musgrave NI.

Gareth Kirk, chief executive, Action Cancer; Elaine Loughlin, a breast cancer survivor from Poyntzpass; and Trevor Magill, managing director, Musgrave NI.

Gareth Kirk, chief executive, Action Cancer; Elaine Loughlin, a breast cancer survivor from Poyntzpass; and Trevor Magill, managing director, Musgrave NI.

Action Cancer, Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity, has announced the arrival of a new Big Bus which will begin its first day of operation on Saturday, May 1.

The new and improved Big Bus will replace the existing vehicle, which for nearly 15 years has delivered free life-saving breast screening and health checks to communities across Northern Ireland.

The new Big Bus is supported by principal funder Walk the Walk, a UK breast cancer charity which has 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 partner 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, May 1.

“The launch of the new Big Bus marks an outstanding milestone in Action Cancer’s history,” said Gareth Kirk, chief executive of Action Cancer. “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 £3.3m 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).”

For information about upcoming Big Bus visits throughout NI and to book an appointment contact 028 9080 3344 or visit www.actioncancer.org/appointments


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