After five million steps in 10 months, cancer charity founder walks back into England
He's been through five pairs of boots in 10 months and taken 5million steps to walk 2,500 miles around the coast of Northumberland and Scotland.
Brian Burnie, founder of the cancer charity Daft as a Brush, has stepped back in to England at Gretna on his 7,000-mile challenge to bring free cancer patient transport acrossGreat Britain and Ireland.
Brian and his wife Cheryl, left Newcastle on March 5, 2018, from the Baltic, Gateshead to raise awareness, promote and expand the Gosforth-based charity.
He crossed the River Sark at Gretna cheered on by charity volunteers and supporters.
“To see so many smiling faces cheering me over the border at Gretna was very emotional," said Brian. "Cheryl and I were met by dozens of volunteers and local people, it was very moving for us.
"I am delighted to have reached 2,500 miles but in a way, sad to leave Scotland behind. I’ve seen fantastic coastline and met some truly unbelievable people; many with close associations with cancer. But my walk must continue and I am looking forward to Cumbria and meeting with delegates from the Cumbria Infirmary to discuss the Daft as a Brush service for their cancer patients."
Brian’s walk around the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland has not been without it difficulties. The 74-year-old suffers from Parkinson’s disease making his challenge even more tiring, yet he’s determined to complete this three-year mission.
Brian said: “The Newcastle-based charity transports some 40,000 cancer patients each year with a team of over 350 volunteers. Time and time again, we hear how difficult and stressful it is for patients getting to and from hospital.
"It is my dream to create 1,000,000 bespoke cancer patient journeys all over Great Britain and Ireland.”
Brian and Cheryl have met representatives from major cancer hospitals throughout Scotland - Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Ninewells in Dundee, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Raigmore Inverness and the Beatson in Glasgow.
They have been delighted with the feedback from oncologists, radiographers and medical teams.
“The response from Scotland has been absolutely incredible," said Brian.
Natural England will be offering support and advice to the charity trekker as he approaches the west coast of the Lake District. For now, Brian may have his feet up for a few days, but he won’t be relaxing for too long.
“I’ve been walking every day for over three weeks, sometimes up to 20 miles a day. That’s taken a toll on my feet. I have come back to Newcastle to see my podiatrist, Shirley Stevenson, in Gosforth. She’s been looking after my feet from the very start”.
Brian’s dream to take the charity nationwide could be turning in to a reality, one step at a time. They will be back on the walk very soon, along with their double-decker bus, named Bluebell, their mobile home for the next two years.
You can follow Brian’s walk and discover more at www.bluebellbus.org.uk