Brian Burnie, 75, who is walking 7,000 miles along entire coastline of Great Britain and Ireland to highlight the need for free cancer patient transport, has completed the Anglesey – Bangor stage of his journey.
Brian started the charity “Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care” in the North East of England 10 years ago. The charity manages some 40,000 patient journeys annually with a team of 350 volunteers, Brian now wants to take the free service nationwide!
Despite Brian having to deal with the developing effects of Parkinson’s disease, he lives with his wife Cheryl on a double decker bus (they’ve called Bluebell) for the two and a half year challenge. He’s finished walking the island of Ireland and is now hoping to bring the service in to Wales.
Brian is walking from Holyhead towards Bangor and south to the Llŷn peninsula before Snowdonia and towards St.Davids and Cardiff over the next few weeks.
He’s walked an incredible 4,280 miles to date; beginning on 5th March 2018 at the Baltic in Gateshead, through Northumberland, the entire coastline of Scotland, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and North Wales to Dublin in early April 2019. For the last six months, Brian has been walking the island of Ireland, meeting with doctors, oncologists, politicians, all the Lord Mayors and hundreds of well wishers, many with close association with cancer.
The North East based charity, ‘Daft a Brush Cancer Patient Care’ offers cancer patients free transport to and from hospital, who are undergoing Chemotherapy and / or Radiotherapy cancer treatment. In 2018, the charity completed some 40,000 patient journeys with a team of 350 volunteers. Brian has found great similarities with the transport issues faced by cancer patients in Ireland to those in the north of England; “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people, many with first-hand experience of cancer and the daily struggle of getting to and from hospital. It’s an issue that effects so many patients, no matter where they live.
The feedback I’ve received about the Daft as a Brush service has been incredible. We’re in North Wales now, with ‘Bluebell Bus’ parked at Arriva Bus in Bangor. I am walking from Holyhead, south towards Dwyran, over the Britannia Bridge past Snowdonia to St.Davids and Cardiff. I am looking forward to meeting the good people of Wales on my walk and highlighting the need for free cancer patient transport.”
Brian and his wife, Cheryl have passed the half-way mark on their two-and-a-half year, 7,000 mile challenge. Their mobile home, a double decker bus donated by Stagecoach called “Bluebell”, has been generously accommodated by Ireland’s national bus company, Bus Éireann. However, back in North Wales, Arriva Bus in Bangor have offered their depot to the charity trekker. Cheryl Burnie is thrilled with the support; “Bus Éireann and the team at their depots all around Ireland have been fantastic! They’ve helped us so much and have been so kind,we can’t thank them enough. Arriva have also been so good to us, it’s very touching. I know Brian is very excited about possibility of bringing Daft as a Brush to Wales.”
Brian’s 7,000 mile walk is becoming even more of a challenge with the developing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Stiff muscles, rigidity and slow movement make it harder to take normal steps, but the 75 year old is determined to complete his odyssey. “Just a few weeks ago, we had a terrible scare” Cheryl adds; “Brian was in severe pain with his foot, he couldn’t rest or sleep. I took him to the medical centre in Skibbereen, where we thought he may have suffered a fracture. That would have been the end of Brian’s walk for months. Fortunately, tests revealed bad bruising. Feet-up for a week and he has been fine since, we are so relieved”.
The walk will continue through Snowdonia towards Cardiff before crossing to Bristol and heading south west to Land’s End. They estimate to be back in the North East for Christmas 2020, returning via the east coast clocking up 7,000 miles walked.
Brian is sad to leave the Emerald Isle but excited to start a new chapter walking the entire coast of Wales; “The walk has been absolutely stunning in Ireland. I never knew the Irish Coast was so spectacular. But, I am really looking forward to walking the undiscovered corners and coastline of Wales.”
To date Brian has walked a staggering 4,280 miles, ‘only’ 2,720 miles to go. By late 2020, Brian may also be a World Record holder – An application for a new World Record has been made for the ‘Oldest person to walk the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland.’ Brian is funding the walk privately to ensure all monies raised go directly to helping cancer patients.
Daft as a Brush
Learn more about Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care at www.DaftasaBrush.org.uk Who are Daft as a Brush? Daft a Brush Cancer Patient Care offers staffed custom-made vehicles to transport outpatients, free of charge, to and from hospital who are undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy cancer treatment.
The charity provides some 40,000 cancer patient journeys each year operated by over 350 dedicated volunteers. The service entails collecting and transporting patients in a safe and comfortable environment from where they are living to where they will be having their treatment. If required, a volunteer companion will stay with the patient during their Chemotherapy and / or Radiotherapy. We return the patient to their home in readiness for their next course of treatment. Founder, Brian Burnie is promoting the Daft as a Brush Charity nationwide by walking 7,000 miles around the entire coastline of Great Britain and Ireland in 2 and a half years, with a converted double decker bus called ‘Bluebell’ as his home. On his return, the charity aims to create over 1,000,000 cancer patient journeys, nationwide.
Further information available at www.daftasabrush.org.uk You can follow Brian via GPS and discover more at: www.BluebellBus.org.uk or via the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/DAABBLUEBELLBUS/