megabus.com supports Isla Smiler childhood cancer awareness campaign
In September, megabus.com used social media to ask the public for ten names for new vehicles to be based at their depot in Rugby. Ideas came flooding in via the hashtag #GiveMeAName. One suggestion captured the attention of the company immediately as a number of people suggested naming a coach 'Isla Smiler' after 7 year old Isla Tansey from Hinckley, Leicestershire who died in May following a fight against cancer.
Isla had inspired thousands with a global art campaign to support her fight with cancer. The brave youngster started the #islastones campaign, encouraging people around the world to paint and hide stones, posting pictures of them online for Isla to see.
Pebbles were painted and hidden in all seven continents, with one placed by researchers at the South Pole, and the dedicated Facebook group reached more than 67 800 members.
As well as naming the coach Isla Smiler, megabus.com appealed to Isla's supporters via the #islastones Facebook group to hand paint 1 000 stones. The stones were delivered to the company's Rugby depot and were placed on board Isla's coach, alongside a leaflet about Isla's legacy. The coach than set off across the country, visiting places including Leeds, Cardiff, Newcastle, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Coventry; spreading Isla's message loud and clear.
People who find the stones are asked to #Photo #Post and #Rehide using the #islastones hashtag.
Passengers who board the coach are offered a leaflet and invited to take a stone to place at a location at the end of their journey.
This week additional decorations have been added to the coach. Not only does the 74 seat Plaxton display the name Isla Smiler but 50 vinyls displaying a range of stones from the Isla Smiler Facebook page have been added to make the coach even more special.
Staff at the coach operator designed some of the stones as well. Operations Director, Tony Simmons from megabus.com said: "When we heard about the story of this brave little girl and how her life had impacted on so many people we felt we had to support the campaign in this way. We asked for each stone to have a transport theme and received many different designs. Each stone also included the hashtag #islastones.
“We’re hoping that by transporting these stones and the information across the country we’ll help to raise awareness of this wonderful little girl and in turn help to raise funds for the treatment of childhood cancers.”
Isla’s mum, Katherine Tansey and members of the Isla Stones Facebook group were invited along to Coombe Abbey to view Isla’s coach and to place a number of stones within the grounds.
Katherine said: "The Isla Smiler coach is so much more than we ever expected. If Isla saw it she would smile and do a little hand clap. Thank you megabus so much for sharing her love, for making people smile and raising awareness of childhood cancer."
Stones have also been taken to Victoria coach station and are available to take on journeys from the Rugby depot Travel Shop. megabus.com drivers and employees have also taken some with them to hand out whilst on their journeys.
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