SuperValu & Centra raise a record-breaking £223,000 for Action Cancer

SuperValu and Centra stores across Northern Ireland have pulled out all the stops and raised a staggering £223,444 in 2023 for their long-term charity partner Action Cancer.

This is the largest amount ever raised by the retail brands, which are part of Musgrave NI, in one year, and will help keep the charity’s mobile detection unit the Big Bus on the road – providing breast screening, skin cancer detection assessments, and health checks, as well as supporting the charity’s health action programme.

Fundraising initiatives throughout the year, including the Sponsor a Mammogram and the Frank and Honest coffee Time to Espresso we Care campaign, were ardently supported by SuperValu and Centra retailers and their teams, and by caring customers who gave so generously.

Desi Derby, Director of Marketing for SuperValu and Centra commented on the fundraising total:

“I am absolutely delighted by the amount of money raised by our customers, retail partners, and colleagues for Action Cancer during 2023 and want to thank every single person who contributed, for their support.

“There are very few partnerships that have this type of longevity, and to have raised this incredible total in 2023, which was also Action Cancer’s 50th anniversary year, demonstrates support for the charity is stronger than ever. I am very proud that these funds will help ensure the Big Bus continues to visit communities across Northern Ireland, saving lives, and enable Action Cancer to deliver its health education programme in schools across Northern Ireland.”

Gareth Kirk, Action Cancer CEO, added:

“The partnership between SuperValu and Centra is one of the longest and most enduring charity partnerships across these islands. Without the incredible financial support of SuperValu and Centra, the Action Cancer mobile clinic the Big Bus would simply not exist. The Big Bus is truly a one-off vehicle with no similar vehicle with onboard free breast and skin cancer detection services operating anywhere else in Europe. This life saving service is only made possible through the incredible generosity of the Musgrave Group and its superb customers – thank you, together we have not only made a difference to the lives of local people and communities, but through early detection of cancer, saved lives”.

Action Cancer Ambassador Andrea Rocks had her skin cancer diagnosis made following an appointment on the Big Bus.

Andrea said: “The Big Bus has been a lifesaver for me. I scanned the QR code on a flyer I had picked up and was booked in for a virtual call that week. The nurse specialist assessed the mole on my arm and got me a face-to-face appointment on the Big Bus that Saturday. Once seen I was red flagged immediately – the staff on the Big Bus were excellent, calm, and reassuring. This early detection was so important for me, as once the biopsy was done, I was diagnosed with a stage 2 melanoma. Thank you, Action Cancer, for my early detection.”

Since 2006, the Big Bus has been bringing its onboard unique Breast Screening Service for women aged 40 to 49 and 70 plus and Health Checks, for men and women 18 plus, to local communities across all of N. Ireland. In addition to 2023 being Action’s Cancer’s 50th anniversary year, it was also a very special year for the Big Bus, the year when yet another unique lifesaving service was introduced, a skin cancer detection service.

Throughout 2023, the Big Bus visited 119 communities across N. Ireland. A total of 2,122 mammograms were completed, providing reassurance to women in these locations and detecting early-stage breast cancers in nine women, who had no symptoms. As a result of onboard health checks, 838 people were referred to their GP for further investigation. Nearly 600 men and women were assessed for a potential skin cancer resulting in some 9% being directly “red flagged” into the hospital system for further assessment.

The incredible £223,444 fundraising total was reached through initiatives including the popular International Coffee Day event, when 50p per Frank and Honest coffee sold over three days was pledged to the charity, raising over £21,000.

During Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, stores across the country dressed in pink, held raffles, and called on shoppers to ‘sponsor a mammogram’ and raise £120 per store – the amount it costs Action Cancer to provide a free breast screening appointment to women outside of NHS screening age.

The grounds of Belfast City Hall were also turned into a sea of pink when SuperValu sponsored Breast Foot Forward in June, followed by the most successful Centra Run Together to date when 1,600 runners gathered at Ormeau Park in Belfast to take part in 5k and 10k routes raising a phenomenal £33,000.

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