Celebrating Our History

04 February 2016

Action Cancer received a special visit on World Cancer Day (4th February) from the son and daughter of Action Cancer founder, Dr George Edelstyn.

Professor Nicky Edelstyn and her brother Paul, who are based in England, visited Action Cancer House on the Malone Road, Belfast as well as the Big Bus mobile unit, stationed at the King’s Hall. Nicky and Paul met with Action Cancer staff, Honorary Life Members and Ambassadors where they learned how the charity has grown and developed over the last 43 years.

In 1973, Dr George Edelstyn, an oncologist at Belvoir Park Hospital founded Action Cancer with the aim to fund pioneering research into chemotherapy and to support patients and their families during treatment. In 1976 Action Cancer House was purchased to provide facilities for patients awaiting treatment at Belvoir Park Hospital and recovery facilities for chemotherapy patients who had to travel long distances. The house also became a centre for the co-ordination of breast cancer research.

In 1978 Action Cancer began screening women for breast cancer – this was the first time screening was introduced in Northern Ireland. Since then, Action Cancer has expanded its breast screening service and in the last ten years the charity has screened over 77,000 women. In the last year alone a record 10,079 women were screened at Action Cancer House and on board the Big Bus.

The Big Bus, sponsored by SuperValu and its independent retailers, delivers early detection and health promotion services to over 225 locations across Northern Ireland every year. Since its launch ten years ago in 2006, the Big Bus has benefited over 52,000 local people by delivering 33,000 breast screenings and 19,000 M.O.T. health checks.

Professor Nicky Edelstyn said, I can't begin to express the impact my visit to Action Cancer has had on me. Seeing the effect Dad's work made to the lives of people was overwhelming, and to see his vision and energy so wonderfully embodied in the leadership and ethos of everyone I meet at Action Cancer is inspirational.”

Breast screening is available to women aged 40-49 and 70+ (who fall outside of NHS age range). Health checks are available to men and women aged 16+. Action Cancer also offers support and therapeutic services to anyone affected by cancer; patients, carers and family members. In addition to the early detection and support services, the charity also carries out health promotion activity with children, young people and adults in school, community and workplace settings. Today the charity’s mission is to save lives and support people through cancer awareness, prevention, detection and support. To book an appointment visit www.actioncancer.org/appointments or call 028 9080 3344.