Big Bus drives cancer services to Bushmills

Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity, Action Cancer is bringing its mobile unit, the Big Bus, to Bushmills in October, as part of its ongoing tour of the region.

The unit, which is the first of its kind in Europe, will be hosted by the Giant’s Causeway Community Association and located at Old Bushmills Distillery car park, 2 Distillery Road, Bushmills on October 8.

The 18 metre-long articulated vehicle with expanding side pods, houses cancer prevention and early detection services and staff on the unit also provide information about support services. The mobile clinic, whose main sponsor is retail group SuperValu and its independent retailers, was launched in 2006 to help Action Cancer save lives and support people. Services provided on the Big Bus, which is fully accessible for people with disabilities by means of a wheelchair lift, include digital breast screening for women aged between 40 and 49 and over 70, health promotion and MOT health checks for men and women. A full body composition analysis using the latest technology provides clients with information on their height, weight, body mass index and more, and also offers health awareness and weight loss guidance, encouraging people to adapt to a healthier lifestyle.

Big Bus staff can provide information on complementary therapies and other cancer support services such as counselling, a Listening Ear Service, and support groups, which are available for cancer patients, their carers and families at the charity’s headquarters in Belfast and at other locations.

Anyone interested in making an appointment for the Big Bus should telephone Action Cancer in advance on 028 9080 3344. Appointments will be available from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Bookings are taken on a first come first served basis as there are a limited number of appointments for all services.

Action Cancer Head of Professional Services, Geraldine Kerr explained why the public should take advantage of the service; “The Big Bus is a unique facility for men and women throughout Northern Ireland as it delivers vital life saving and support services right to their doorstep.

“Every year the Big Bus visits 200 communities providing breast screenings to nearly 3,000 women and health checks and advice to approximately 2,000 people.

“With cancer rates on the increase early detection and prevention services, as well as support for those diagnosed with cancer and their families, are even more crucial. Action Cancer would therefore strongly encourage the public to avail of the Big Bus service when it visits their community.”

As part of SuperValu’s long-term commitment to Action Cancer’s mobile cancer services, which they have sponsored since 2001, the independent retail group has provided more than £900,000 of funding for the Big Bus, including £120,000 towards the annual running costs. SuperValu stores throughout Northern Ireland host Big Bus visits and raise funds to keep the service moving.

SuperValu Marketing Manager, Briege McGinty commented on SuperValu’s support for the Big Bus; “SuperValu has been in partnership with Action Cancer for nine years in support of the charity’s mobile services, as a way of giving something back to the community in which our retail partners’ stores operate. We are extremely proud to be part of the Big Bus project and to help Action Cancer make an impact on the health and well-being of local communities throughout Northern Ireland for the long-term.’

The Big Bus targets areas in Northern Ireland where cancer risk is greatest and where uptake of screening services is low. Individuals wishing to make an appointment for a service and groups and companies wishing to make a booking for the Big Bus to visit their location should telephone Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344 or use the dedicated email address