PRESS RELEASE - Charities unite in the fight against breast cancer, as Northern Ireland’s “Big Bus” keeps rolling!

Breast cancer charity Walk the Walk is the Principal Funder of Action Cancer’s new Big Bus

Charities unite in the fight against breast cancer - Northern Ireland’s “Big Bus” keeps rolling!

Two leading charities are uniting across the Irish Sea in the fight against breast cancer. Grant-making breast cancer charity Walk the Walk is best known for its famous MoonWalk midnight marathons, while Action Cancer has been saving lives and supporting people with cancer in Northern Ireland since the 1970’s.

Walk the Walk is delighted to announce that it is the Principal Funder of Action Cancer’s new and improved “Big Bus”, with a grant of £360,000. The money was raised by thousands of women and men wearing Walk the Walk’s trademark brightly decorated bras, as they took part in MoonWalk events in London, Edinburgh and Iceland.

Action Cancer’s first Big Bus began offering a unique breast screening service for women across Northern Ireland in 2006. Screening was offered to women aged 40-49, as well as those aged 70 and over, who all fall outside the NHS range (50-70). After 15 years, that first bus has reached the end of its working life. However, the service it provides is still vitally needed, and Walk the Walk has stepped in to principally fund a replacement.

Grants of £50,000 each have also been made by The Garfield Weston Foundation, Ulster Garden Villages and The McClay Foundation.

The new Big Bus will begin its first day of operations on Saturday 1st May and like the first vehicle, has been fitted out with ground-breaking 3D screening technology. It will travel to 200 locations across Northern Ireland, delivering 5,000 breast screenings and 2,000 health checks in the next 12 months.

Gareth Kirk, Chief Executive of Action Cancer said: “Action Cancer is absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Walk the Walk, whose financial support has been vital in bringing our new and improved Big Bus project to fruition. This unique collaboration will have a lifespan of 15 years, the expected life of the Big Bus mobile unit. The support received from Walk the Walk will enable us to continue to bring our life-saving breast screening service to women living in some of the most rural and deprived communities of Northern Ireland. During the next 15 years, over 70,000 women will be screened throughout Northern Ireland and we estimate approximately 400 women, of which 80% will be under the age of 50, will have an early diagnosis of breast cancer and all other women screened will receive reassurance and peace of mind.”

Nina Barough CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of organisers breast cancer charity Walk the Walk said: “I am delighted that as Principal Funders, this grant from Walk the Walk will help to keep the Big Bus on the road and saving lives. The work that Action Cancer does is unique, by targeting these two age groups, which are outside of the NHS screening age range. The amazing 3D screening successfully picks up cancers as small as a pin head which are difficult to detect, particularly in the younger age group. This means that for many of these women the surgery needed may be less invasive and on occasion their treatment is not as severe on their bodies because the detection is earlier. This also means that chances of survival are massively increased. It is such an important service and I’m just thrilled that by putting one foot in front of the other, our amazing walkers have helped fund this wonderful legacy project that will help so many women in Northern Ireland.”

Action Cancer Ambassador Elaine Loughlin from Poyntzpass whose breast cancer was detected on board the charity’s original bus said: “I believe that Action Cancer’s Big Bus saved my life. At the age of 45, my breast cancer was detected at an early and treatable stage. Thanks to this free service provided by Action Cancer, I’m still here, still alive to be mum to my three beautiful boys; Ben (20), Toby (18) and Rory (12).”

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 new Big Bus turning.


Contact the Walk the Walk PR Team for more information: 

Notes to Editors:

Walk the Walk

  • Walk the Walk is a grant-making health charity, specialising in promoting the benefits of Walking as an important part of cancer prevention as well as for overall mental health and physical wellbeing
  • Walk the Walk raises funds by creating and organising a variety of walking and trekking challenges across the world
  • HRH The Prince of Wales is the official Patron of Walk the Walk
  • During the restrictions placed on events due to Covid-19 Walk the Walk has been forced to look at creating alternative and exciting Virtual events in order to keep people walking and healthy, as well as raising vital funds. This includes the first Virtual MoonWalk Scotland.
  • The MoonWalk is Walk the Walk’s flagship event, held in London, Scotland and Iceland, with women and men taking on their overnight walking challenges wearing brightly decorated bras to raise awareness. 
  • Walk the Walk has raised more than £133 million since it walked its first challenge in 1996
  • The funds raised are granted to charities and organisations across the UK where it can achieve the most good, as well as funding Walk the Walk’s own projects
  • Evidence now shows that being active and lifestyle choices are important factors in prevention against cancer and other diseases
  • At this time funds are granted to research into secondary cancers and to also support frontline services and the impact that Covd-19 has had on those living with cancer.
  • Visit for updates about all Walk the Walk’s virtual fundraising events and to make a donation.

Action Cancer

  • Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity. Its mission is to save lives and support people and it does this through a range of cancer detection, prevention and support services.
  • Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Action Cancer has adapted its services so that these can be delivered safely face-to-face with the use of PPE and stringent sanitising measures (in line with government guidelines) or they have moved to a virtual delivery format.
  • For more information visit