Belfast Telegraph

1,000 people don underwear for Action Cancer's Bra Walk

By Joanne Sweeney

It was a night to get your bra out - and to be proud.

Belfast turned pink as 1,000 men, women and children took part in Action Cancer's Bra Walk around the city centre.

There were more than a few brave souls wearing bra and bikini tops during the 10k walk which started and ended at City Hall.

Underneath the fun and the frolics, there was the real recognition that the charity's free breast screening service saves lives of countless number of women each year in Northern Ireland.

All entrants had to raise at least £80 - the amount which it costs to screen women aged outside the NHS screening programme range.

Dougie King from Action Cancer said later: "We were overwhelmed by the sign-ups for the Bra Walk and having over 1,000 people supporting Action Cancer here last night was just wonderful.

"We are well on our way to reach our £45,000 target, which goes towards the charity's unique breast screening services, the only one of its kind in the UK, screening women free of charge in their 40s and over 70."

Portadown firefighter Linda McKane and her partner Russ Hopcraft were two of the standout characters of the night with their mohawk wigs and pink bikini tops. Russ, a retired firefighter, said that he lost his mother to breast cancer and an aunt to ovarian cancer.

"I've been taking part in this for the last three years and you just couldn't get a better cause to support."

Linda added: "I've been doing this walk every year since it first started and it's a brilliant event. We need to get more men out to walk with us to get the message out that men can also get breast cancer." Marathon runner Eugene Winters from Portstewart was treating the 10k walk as a warm-up before the Mourne Way Marathon tomorrow.

He proudly wore a pink bikini top to raise money for Action Cancer as one of the many charities he supports in completing 85 marathons last year.

Mother and daughter Lorraine and Gillian Veighey from Bangor were out to raise money as a way of saying thanks to the screening service.

Mrs Veighey is a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed 12 years ago.

She added: "I was one of the lucky ones who knew to check myself.

"I was in my forties when I discovered something.

"I had a lumpectomy and was treated with radiotherapy and Tamoxifen after that."

Sisters Anne McAllister from Lisburn, Una Nichol from Seaforde and Eithne Gibbons from Dundrum took part in the walk last night, raising more than £500 between them.

Anne said: "I did find a lump years ago and had a biopsy. Thank God I got the all-clear, but I wouldn't want to go through that again."

Sister Una managed to raise £400 from her business clients in one morning as "people just recognise what a great cause it's for".

Eithne added: "There's six sisters of us and to think that none of us has had breast cancer is amazing."

The walk was a part homecoming celebration and a thank-you from Diana Muir and her daughter Sara from Newtownards.

"I did have a cancer scare a few years ago and Sara is just back from travelling, so it's a great way to say thank-you," said Diana.

The Bra Walk was sponsored by SuperValu and Dowds Kitchens and Bathrooms.


Around 300 women lose their lives each year in Northern Ireland to breast cancer while approximately 1,000 women are diagnosed with the disease.

The most effective proven method to reduce deaths is through regular screening of women at risk.

Action Cancer's breast screening service screened 10,000 women last year and is available free of charge to women aged 40-49 and 70-plus (outside the NHS screening age range).

Each mammogram costs the charity £80.

Belfast Telegraph


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