Everyone was buzzing in Letterkenny this morning for the first birthday of the Northwest BUMBLEance Children’s Ambulance Service.
A party was held at Century Complex Letterkenny to celebrate BUMBLEance and the BUMBLEtte – the vital service transports sick and critically ill children from across the Northwest to and from respite and hospices, medical treatment centres, and hospitals.
The Donegal-based BUMBLEette vehicle has been on the road every day since launching in March 2017, helping hundreds of families in Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan, Longford, Sligo, Roscommon, and Mayo make difficult journeys much easier.
Over the past year, the Northwest service has completed 80 single trips and 156 return trips. With the help of the BUMBLEance fleet, a total of 194 single trips and 216 return trips have been completed in the Northwest region. This would not be possible without the amazing dedication of the BUMBLEance families and supporters.
Founders of The Saoirse Foundation, the charity behind BUMBLEance, Tony and Mary Heffernan attended the event to give tours of the BUMBLEance and talk about future plans for the service.
Local families who have benefited from the BUMBLEance came to pay due tribute to the important resource, including the Nibbs family from Trentagh, who have done great work fundraising for the NorthWest BUMBLEance in honour of their son Oran.
Aisling and Colm Nibbs’ son Oran passed away last year at the age of seven. He made his final trip home on the BUMBLEance via a special service called ‘Angel Trips’.
Aisling told Donegal Daily how her family will be forever grateful for that journey: “This is a vital service for all of the people of Donegal. We would really ask for everybody to get behind it because all the money that’s raised in Donegal goes towards keeping these vehicles on the road to help an innumerous number of children across the county that are very sick that have to travel to Dublin regularly for treatment.
Aisling added: “Very importantly, as was in our case, they provide Angel Trips for children to bring them home for the very last time to spend their last precious hours with their family.
“We will never forget what the BUMBLEance did for us because you can’t put a price on that time. Dying is as important as living when you have a very sick child. We will forever be grateful to Tony and Mary for all that they did for Oran and for our family.”
Letterkenny schoolgirl Kalize McGuigan bravely made a speech to thank the BUMBLEance and point out how good the service is for families. Kalize, who uses the service, had the honourable role of cutting the bee-themed birthday cake. The party will continue this afternoon with a family fun day for local children and families who benefit from BUMBLEance.
There is a fleet of six BUMBLEances currently on the road, with plans to have eight in operation by August 2018, Tony Heffernan said. He said that €5million euro has been put into the BUMBLEance service since it launched by public donations and supporters, and no state funding. Speaking to the local politicians present, Mr Heffernan said it’s time for this to change to allow the service to continue and to get VAT exemptions.
BUMBLEance is the world’s first fully interactive Children’s National Ambulance Service, specifically designed and tailored for children. BUMBLEance provides a free service for children and families in need of help and ensures the safe transportation of sick children between their home and paediatric hospitals, hospices, national treatment centres and respite centres nationwide. They also provide a unique and vital service through their Angel Trips, the final journey a child takes on earth before he or she grows their Angel Wings.
BUMBLEance is currently fundraising to create regionally based vehicles across the country. The Northwest BUMBLEtte is one of these vehicles, while it is hoped that a second service can be brought in locally in the near future.
For more information, contant BUMBLEance:
Phone: (083) 00 44 444