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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 16 September, 2019
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Cork hoping to get its own BUMBLEance to bring critically ill children to hospital

It’s hoped the vehicle will make 500 trips per year.

Committee members at the launch of Cork's BUMBLEance fundraising drive.
Committee members at the launch of Cork's BUMBLEance fundraising drive.
Image: GERARD MCCARTHY

A NEW COMMITTEE has been set up with the goal of raising enough funds to get a child-friendly ambulance for critically ill children in the Cork area.

The Children’s National Ambulance Service’s BUMBLEance vehicles aim to take the stress out of a trip to the hospital for sick children.

The vehicles, which look like giant, happy bumblebees, come kitted out with all of the necessary state-of-the-art medical equipment.

They also have a range of gadgets including Playstations, DVD players and iPads to keep children entertained. Crucially, they also have enough room for parents to travel with their kids.

The BUMBLEance idea has really taken off since Ireland got its first vehicle in 2013.

There is now a whole fleet of the ambulances on the road and just last week 12-year-old Keith Gallagher from Mayo became the first BUMBLEair passenger when he flew to Dublin for treatment.

bumble-air Keith Gallagher before his BUMBLEair trip with his father David (right) and Tony Heffernan. Source: Eamon Ward

The concept was the creation of Tony Heffernan of the Saorise Foundation, which works with critically ill children.

Now a group is looking to raise funds to secure a smaller BUMBLEette vehicle in order to help sick children throughout Cork city and county.

Speaking at the launch of the Cork Committee, Tony Heffernan said: “We are delighted to have the Cork Committee on board with BUMBLEance as this will make a massive difference to so many seriously ill children and their families at a local level.

Our main goal is to take away that fear and stress of an ambulance journey for a child.

“Our new, regionally based, Southern and Rebel BUMBLEette service, will enable us to provide vital assistance to even more sick children and families in need of our support throughout the Rebel County.”

There are a variety of fundraising events in the pipeline and organisers say they hope that the community will come out and support the campaign.

The service will also provide a very unique and specialised service called Angel Trips. This is the final journey of a terminally ill child as they travel to their home from a hospital or care facility.

“This will make a massive difference to so many seriously ill children and their families at a local level,” Heffernan continued.

Our main goal is to achieve an Ireland where the fear and stress of an ambulance journey for a child no longer exists.

The committee hopes to raise €200,000 to cover the purchase of the BUMBLEette and operational costs. The service is free for families and the committee say the Cork based vehicle will complete over 500 trips per year.

Read: Boy from Mayo is first-ever patient to be transported in BUMBLEair helicopter>

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Ceimin Burke

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