Martin Cawley, CEO of Beatson Cancer Charity, shakes hands with Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director for First Bus Scotland

Beatson Cancer Charity and First Glasgow launch new partnership backing 'Together Along the Way' awareness campaign

Beatson Cancer Charity has launched a new partnership with First Glasgow in a move it hopes will raise significant awareness of its regional campaign titled ‘Together Along the Way’.

First Glasgow has gifted the charity a customised and bespoke double-decker bus, allowing the charity’s key messages to be seen and heard in communities across Greater Glasgow and beyond. The bus operator will support a full calendar of events alongside Beatson Cancer Charity over the next 12 months.

The Beatson Bus will be starting the campaign tour in Renfrewshire, where there are known high levels of patients and families. It will then be rolled out across other parts of the west of Scotland throughout the remainder of the year.  

The bus has been transformed with the eye-catching and noticeable Beatson-branded yellow. The pandemic highlighted a rise in isolation for cancer patients, the need for assistance with employment rights, access to bereavement support and better advice on accessing benefits.  

At each of the events, Beatson Cancer Charity staff members and volunteers will be available on the bus to give information on the services offered and signpost people who require support. 

52-year-old Graeme Dickie from Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013. He has been receiving treatment at The Beatson’s satellite centre in Inverclyde for the last decade, after it was discovered his cancer had progressed to stage 4 in 2017. Graeme’s scans last year identified a Neuroendocrine tumour, which is treatable. He has recently moved onto receiving a new drug which he is responding well to. 

Graeme was eager to go back to work as an electrical engineer after he was first diagnosed, but he has now been receiving treatment for a decade, so volunteers for Beatson Cancer Charity when he is able to. 

Graeme, who has three kids, said: “I was engaged with the Specialist Health and Work Service (SHAWS) team for a period of time because they were helping me deal with the challenge of getting ready to get back into the workplace. I used the SHAWS facility for a while and was on their ‘return to work’ programme. 

“Unfortunately, I never went back to work and I’ve just continued volunteering. I was 42 when I was diagnosed so you’re still very much right in the middle of your career, so it’s a huge factor you’ve got to consider is the impact on your work.”

Beatson volunteer Graeme Dickie

Graeme says Beatson Cancer Charity has had a huge impact on his life. He added: “It's just being able to engage as a family with the services Beatson Cancer Charity offers. 

“Even just getting involved with some of the fundraising activities, it’s maybe helped my kids accept how we’re managing it.  

“Whether it’s using the wellbeing services or SHAWS - it helps normalise living with cancer. You can still go out and you can still do some fundraising events. You can go for walks and do activities as a family. It helps you do those things and gives you the confidence to do so. 

“It’s not just about the patient, it’s the impact it’s got on your own family as well. My youngest, he was only 5 when I was first diagnosed, so he’s grown up with it. And that’s really all he’s known. You’ve got to look beyond the patient sometimes – sometimes it’s a partner, parents or the children to have that engagement and support there for.” 

Beatson Bus

Martin Cawley, CEO of Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We’re delighted to be growing awareness in areas across the west of Scotland and making sure patients and families are familiar with the services we offer. 

“Around 35,000 people in Scotland are diagnosed with cancer every year in Scotland. We want to make sure that when people are affected by cancer, they know what support is available to them. 

“Thank you to First Bus who have provided this fantastic bright yellow bus for us to use as part of our awareness campaign as we continue to work towards ensuring no one goes through cancer alone.” 

Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director for First Bus Scotland, said: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with the Beatson Cancer Charity who do so much fantastic work for people across Greater Glasgow and beyond.

“We love the design of the bright yellow Beatson bus wrap and it will definitely catch the eye when it is out and about on the streets of Glasgow raising awareness over the next 12 months.

“First Bus will be working closely with the Beatson Cancer Charity to support a calendar of events around the city in the coming months as the charity continues its work to help as many people impacted by cancer as possible.”

The Beatson Bus launch photoshoot took place at Glasgow Airport, which is the first time something of
its kind has happened on the runway. The idea of the bus being on the runway came from Ronald Leitch,
Operations Director at Glasgow Airport. Glasgow Airport has continued to be a strong supporter of
Beatson Cancer Charity which sees in the region of 7.5 million passengers each year, meaning it has one
of the highest footfalls recorded in the Renfrewshire area.

If you spot the Beatson Bus, make sure to take a picture and tag us on social media using the hashtag #BeatsonBus. 

For more information:  

Notes to editors

List of events/locations the Beatson Bus will be appearing at over the coming months: 

  • Lilias Day Kilbarchan – Saturday 3rd June
  • Barrhead Rainbow Run – Saturday 10th June
  • Braehead Shopping Centre – Thursday 29th & Friday 30th June 
  • Decathalon Braehead – Saturday 15th July
  • Mearns Castle Golf Club – expected late July / August 

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