Whiteabbey support for Action Cancer’s new Big Bus

Whiteabbey Action Cancer Group has helped to usher in a new chapter in the charity’s mobile screening and health check service in Northern Ireland

Monday, 24th May 2021, 5:39 pm

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery, joined Lawrence Fisher, chair of the Whiteabbey Action Cancer Group, and Marion Fisher to launch the charity’s new Big Bus.

The state-of-the-art vehicle replaces the old one which for nearly 15 years has successfully delivered free life-saving breast screening and health check appointments across the province.

In the last five years the service has visited the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area 48 times, providing 1,104 breast screenings for women.

Marion Fisher, Lawrence Fisher, chair of Whiteabbey Action Cancer group and the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery.

Lawrence said; “We are delighted to promote the arrival of the new Big Bus which has been such a support to the Whiteabbey community for the last 15 years and it is thanks to the generosity of local people supporting our fundraising that this new Big Bus has become a reality.”

Action Cancer must fundraise £3,000 for every day the bus is on the road and needs support from the general public. As Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease, the group is looking forward to the return of some of its annual fundraising activities.

Lawrence continued: “We are very thankful to all the members of the local community and the local businesses for the ongoing support. If your business can take a collection box or if you can hold a one-off fundraising event, please get in touch.

“We are grateful for all your support and hope that our community will continue to help the Whiteabbey Action Cancer Group to keep the Big Bus on the road for a long time to come.”

The new bus has been made possible with generous support from principal funder Walk the Walk, a UK breast cancer charity which has provided £360,000 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 partners 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 Big Bus turning.

Over the next year, it will 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).

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery, said: “I am delighted to be able to support the local Whiteabbey Action Cancer Community group in helping to launch the brand-new, state of the art Big Bus, Action Cancer’s mobile breast screening unit.

“The Big Bus is such an important asset to both local people and people across Northern Ireland. By supporting your local Action Cancer group at one of their fundraising events or through their street collections you will be helping to keep the wheels of the new big bus rolling for another 15 years.”

If you would like any information on how you can support the Whiteabbey Community Group, contact Mark Irwin-Watson on 07580133752 or email [email protected]

Meanwhile, the charity is calling upon its supporters to combine the lifting of lockdown with fundraising for the charity’s unique breast screening service by hosting ‘Breast Friends BBQs’.

The campaign is empowered by online car insurance company Its4women, which has pledged to match money raised by the general public over three years up to a total value of £90,000.

Action Cancer can provide guidance and branded materials to anyone holding a Breast Friends BBQ. For more details or to get an information pack, call Leigh Osborne on 07928 668543 or email [email protected]

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