Main pic: Brave little Noah, happy onboard the BUMBLEance.
A Donegal family who frequently use the BUMBLEance have thrown their weight behind the unique service.
The well-known Gooch family’s youngest son, Noah, has Down Syndrome and was also diagnosed with Leukemia in 2021. Since then, the family have been using free BUMBLEance to bring Noah from Letterkenny to regular appointments in Dublin.
In early 2021, Noah was in Crumlin for three weeks while awaiting his diagnosis with his mother. When it came time to be discharged, however, his dad Lee contracted Covid and his grandfather was also taken into hospital just before Noah was discharged. As a result, there was no way to get him and his mum, Claire, home to Donegal. However, BUMBLEance were able to step in and brought Noah and Claire home to Donegal.
That was the first time they used BUMBLEance as they had no other options. Noah was in a lot of pain at this time, so being able to lay down on a stretcher in one of the BUMBLEances helped him feel more comfortable. As Noah also has Down Syndrome, he wouldn’t travel well in the back of the car on his own with one parent driving in the front for long distances.
“The service is useful because travelling from Donegal is expensive, especially considering the rising cost of fuel and it would require both parents to go, meaning older sibling Lee needs to be picked up/dropped to school by someone else which adds additional pressure and stress,” the family said.
Dad, Lee, would also have to take time off work to go to Dublin with Noah and Claire. It’s around five hours from Letterkenny to Dublin, when stops are included for the driver and for Noah if he feels ill.
“Long journeys like this are the norm for many unwell children in the far reaches of the country who must travel to Dublin for medical appointments, but BUMBLEance attempts to make it easier for the parents/guardians and a more enjoyable experience for children,” the family added.
Motivated by how much BUMBLEance and others had helped them, Lee and Claire decided to fundraise. In August 2021, they organised the famous ‘Noah’s Bed Push’ which raised a staggering €237,000 for nine charities, including BUMBLEance. The event saw seven people, including dad Lee, take part, pushing a bed 250km from Dublin to Donegal.
Each BUMBLEance is fitted out with state-of-the-art entertainment systems such as games consoles, streaming services, music as well as access to wifi to ensure each journey is as enjoyable as possible. It is a place where children can just be children and parents/guardians don’t need to worry. The services are available nationwide to any child who needs them and can be booked in advance at bumbleance.com