Last year 45,000 cancer patient journeys were made possible by Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care. The fleet of 32 ambulances and 350 volunteers work across the North East, from the Yorkshire Dales to the Scottish Borders, providing specialist transport to those undergoing cancer treatment.
The work of Daft as a Brush is a testament to its founder, Brian Bernie.
Since the 1960s Brian has been a charitable man. In the late 1980s, as his companies grew in success, he formed his first charitable organisation for the companies to fund. During this time, they paid for a doctor at Freemans Hospital’s Children’s Heart Unit.
In 2010 Brian sold his family home and disbursed his possessions to fund the creation of Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care; specialising in the transportation of cancer patients.
Our Commercial Director, Paul Davison, first met Brian in 2008 when he needed advice and regarding the conversion of his family home in to Doxford Hall Hotel. Paul helped Brian with the insurance for the conversion and subsequently insuring the hotel and, following the sale of Doxford Hall, Daft As A Brush Cancer Patient Care. Erimus have arranged the insurances for the charity from day one, and during this time Paul and Brian have developed a strong personal relationship.
“Without question being part of the Daft as a Brush family is hugely rewarding – having worked with Brian in the years leading up to the launch of the charity and since, we are privileged to provide professional services and financial support to the charity. It started out as one man’s dream and has ended up becoming a vital service in the North East of England. Daft as a Brush is inspired and driven by the vision, energy, enthusiasm and generosity of Brian who has been supported by literally hundreds of volunteers. We are in absolute awe of what this charity has achieved in supporting thousands of cancer patients and their families. As a community broker, we are extremely proud to be associated with such an inspirational person and amazing charity.” Paul Davison, Commercial Director
Looking to the Future..
On 5th March 2018 Brian, his wife Cheryl and the Bluebell Bus Team embarked upon a 7,000 mile walk around the coast of Great Britain and the island of Ireland with the aim of raising the charities profile and encouraging other medical trusts to adopt their cancer patient transportation service. Brian’s vision is that every cancer patient in the UK has access to their services – this would mean circa. 1,000,000 cancer patient journeys annually.
Brian will complete the walk towards the end of 2020, the gruelling 7,000 mile journey has been an immense personal challenge for the 75 year old, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but he did not let that stop him. Brian continues to fight to bring the Daft as a Brush service to as many people as possible.
A Daft as a Brush service user, Harry Heppell, used to take two to three buses just to get to his hospital appointments, and would repeat the journey to get home. Unreliable public transport led to missed appointments, exposure to bacteria on buses overwhelmed already compromised immune systems and exhaustion meant a great deal of cancer patients would not complete their course of treatment.
Daft as a Brush provides a free of charge, reliable and friendly service to people of all ages and locations who are undergoing cancer treatment. Every bus is equipped with a driver and a companion, volunteer Ali Zaatar comments “we have lot of fun, we are always happy and smiling”.
1 in 2 people will be diagnosed cancer in their lifetime, a worrying statistic, however it is now becoming far more common that people survive cancer. Daft as a Brush is a vital link in the cancer treatment chain.
“Daft as a Brush is a great example of how the third sector can interact – we as a society can get involved and become part of the NHS in a very tangible way” – Professor Sir John Burn.