Action Cancer Big Bus due in Ballee

NORTHERN Ireland's leading local cancer charity, Action Cancer has announced it is to bring its mobile unit, the Big Bus, to Ballee in September. The unit, which is the first of its kind in Europe, will be hosted by the Ballee Community Association and located at Ballee High School, Ballee Road West, Ballymena on September 16.

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 weightloss clinic using the latest technology provides clients with a full body composition analysis and offers tailored guidance on reaching and maintaining an ideal weight.

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 offers a comprehensive regional service for men and women of all ages right on their doorstep and Action Cancer encourages the public to avail of these vital life saving and support services in their community.”

“Cancer detection and prevention are crucial with cancer rates set to increase by 54% in the next 20 years. The emotional support provided by our services will also help many people coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis themselves or deal with the devastating effects of a family member getting cancer.”

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 800,000 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 eight 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 [email protected]