New BUMBLEance service available to sick children in Mayo

Aimee O’Loughlin from Ballina at the launch of the new BUMBLEance service for children from the northwest of the country. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography.

Aimee O’Loughlin from Ballina at the launch of the new BUMBLEance service for children from the northwest of the country. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography.

BUMBLEance, a children’s ambulance service, is celebrating the launch of the latest vehicle to join its fleet. The new children’s ambulance will service sick children and their families in the northwest of the country.

Speaking at the launch of the new BUMBLEance vehicle Ann O’Loughlin, mother of  Aimee (14 ) from Ballina who uses the BUMBLEance service, said: “The BUMBLEance service has been life changing for Aimee and my family. We struggled to get Aimee comfortably to and from hospital appointments for years. It was a real stress on everyone. Once we started to use the BUMBLEance things began to get easier. Aimee looks forward to her trips and her dad and I are thrilled that we can rely on this safe and fun service for her.”

This new ambulance is the fifth vehicle in the BUMBLEance fleet and the first of a planned series of regionally based vehicles that will supplement the charity’s existing national service fleet. This new BUMBLEance will serve the sick children of the northwest. The BUMBLEance fleet includes critical care and clinical intervention services to help any children who may require additional specialist care while in transit.

The new 171 Mercedes based vehicle has been adapted to cater for the needs of both disabled and seriously ill children who require transportation to and from specialist treatment centres, pre and post-surgical appointments, respite and hospice trips. The new BUMBLEance service, the Children’s Chemo Cab, will also allow for children to be carried to and from Crumlin Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy treatment.

The interior and exterior of the new regional BUMBLEance maintains the bright and colourful images that children love and it includes the latest technologies to keep children entertained while travelling. In addition to all these features children can receive well wishes directly from the public and loved ones using the onboard Wi-Fi for live social media streaming and Skype.

Speaking at the launch of the new vehicle Tony Heffernan the founder of BUMBLEance said: “I am thrilled that the northwest is getting the first of several new regional based BUMBLEance services. The challenges of parents and sick children who must travel to Dublin to access services will be greatly reduced by the BUMBLEance experience.” Mr Heffernan added that the charity would be operating the vehicle itself and would be initially rolling out a 40 to 60 hours a week service from May 2017. In addition the charity will be creating two new jobs in the northwest and it is currently finalising positions for the new crew of the vehicle.

The BUMBLEance is owned by the Saoirse Foundation and is named after the daughter of Mary and Tony Heffernan, who founded the organisation is 2010. Saoirse died in January 2011 at the age of five from the fatal and rare condition Batten disease. Her only sibling, Liam, also had Batten disease and died in 2014 also aged five. The Heffernans have no other children and put their energy into helping others who are following a similar road to the one they travelled. Mary and Tony Heffernan were awarded the Pride of Ireland Award and the People of the Year awards in 2014.

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