Location: Children Hospital Ireland (CHI) at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15
BUMBLEance Children’s Ambulance Service has today launched its latest vehicle at the CHIs new paediatric Urgent Care Centre at Connolly Hospital, Dublin. This new bespoke service will provide daily interhospital transfers between the new Urgent Care Centre and the children’s hospitals at Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght. The 2020 vehicle was built in Ireland by BUMBLEance and was funded 100% by public donations via this amazing “Not-for-profit” charity. The vehicle was specifically designed for sick children and their families and built using the latest Mercedes Benz Chassis and will be operated in partnership with the National Ambulance Service.
Speaking at the launch, Tony and Mary Heffernan, founders of BUMBLEance stated “We are excited to launch this new vehicle to assist parents and especially their sick children to access the best health care in Ireland using our newest vehicle. We hope our service will support thousands of additional “King and Queen Bees” each year for many years to come.
Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive, CHI commented “CHI would like to thank members of the public who donated to BUMBLEance. This new dedicated vehicle will help us transfer our patients quickly and safely in an ambulance that is specifically built for the needs of children. Children will use the BUMBLEance if they need to be admitted to inpatient bed or access a specialist service in one of our hospitals. The Urgent Care Centre at Connolly opened in July 2019. Here we look after children and young people from the local area with minor illnesses and minor injuries. We provide a short stay observation service for patients to complete treatment over 6 hours before going home. Critical to the safe and efficient operation of the Urgent Care Centre is the transfer of patients who require further inpatient treatment at CHI Temple Street, Crumlin or Tallaght.
Dale Adams from Co. Wexford, whose daughter Maisie used the BUMBLEance Critical Care service in 2016 said “Maisie was critically ill and struggling to breathe when she was transferred by BUMBLEance, but the sight of the cheery BUMBLEance bees made her smile for the first time in what had been an extremely tough 48hrs. Thankfully Maisie is completely fine now.”
In September 2013 BUMBLEance became the world’s first fully interactive, Children’s Ambulance Service. It provides a free national service for critically and seriously ill children, who require transportation between their home and hospitals, hospices, national treatment centres and respite centres, the charity’s aim is to distract, support and care for its special guests with state of the art and fun vehicles. BUMBLEance has been supporting critical and urgent care transfers with two existing vehicles in partnership with the National Ambulance Service for several years. BUMBLEance which owns all the vehicles, also operates vehicles independently from its four regional bases across the country.
Approx. 10,000 trips have been completed by BUMBLEance’s since it was launched by the Heffernan’s, who today support hundreds of families on an ongoing basis. The Heffernan’s, who were awarded the People of the Year and Pride of Ireland awards, among others, have also created both the “Children’s Chemo Cab” bringing children to and from Cancer Treatments, and BUMBLEair, a free air transport service for sick children. The couple are urgently seeking support from the public and business community to replace some of its older vehicles Ireland and develop two further regional bases in the Midwest and Southeast and extend its services in Northern Ireland.
The Saoirse Foundation, which owns and operates BUMBLEance, was founded by Tony and Mary Heffernan in March 2010. The charity is named after their young daughter, Saoirse, who sadly lost her life in 2011 at the family home in Kerry, at the tender age of 5. Saoirse had the rare and always fatal neurological condition, Batten Disease.
Tragically the Heffernan’s lost their only other child, son Liam was first child on BUMBLEance in September 2013. Sadly, Liam and his parents took an “Angel Trip”, his final journey on earth, in a BUMBLEance shortly before passing away at home in May 2014, aged 5. Liam also had Batten Disease. The Heffernan’s have no further children. Tony Heffernan is the voluntary CEO of the organisation.