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Fundraising begins for second BUMBLEance vehicle for critically-ill kids

A quiz will take place later this month to raise money – and a Mega Push will take place too.

Aisling Quaid, the first user of the Bumbleance.
Aisling Quaid, the first user of the Bumbleance.
Image: Kieran Clancy

THE PUSH IS on to raise funds for a second BUMBLEance, the ambulance especially for young children.

The BUMBLEance is the brainchild of Tony Heffernan, whose two children had Batten’s Disease. He and his wife Mary set up the Bee for Battens charity, as well as the Saoirse Foundation, and launched the first BUMBLEance in 2013.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Tony Heffernan had said that that, as a parent, when critically ill children travel by ambulance transport “you are very nervous, the kid’s nervous”.

The special BUMBLEance was designed for parents and children to travel together, along with all necessary equipment, and items to entertain children, including a TV and Sony PlayStation.

Demand is growing

It has been a year since the first BUMBLEance was introduced, and Heffernan said that it can be a challenge to keep up with the demand, hence a need for a new vehicle.

He said that they have transported 158 children over the past year, covering over 50,000km across the country.

“Demand is growing at an awful rate,” he said.

He said that 94.9c out of every euro donated to the charity goes to the children.

The need for the BUMBLEance means that fundraising has begun for a second vehicle.

To help with that, a Mega Push event is being held to raise the necessary €250,000.

Members of the public are being asked to get involved and support the cause.

Mega Push

The BUMBLEance Mega Push involves a special BUMBLEance vehicle being pushed from Dingle to Dublin, a total of 355 kilometres.

Starting in Dingle town, adventurer Mike O’Shea, Tony and others will push and pull the vehicle over the notorious Conor Pass before heading East towards Dublin.

The journey will take nine to 10 days to complete and will see the team pass through the villages and towns of Dingle, Camp, Castleisland, Templeglantine, Adare, Birdhill, Moneygall, Mountrath, Monasterevin, and Kill, before finishing in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin on September 20.

To finish off their epic journey, the team will push the vehicle around a half marathon course in Dublin City Centre.

The charity is seeking corporate sponsorship, but is also asking people to text the word BUZZ to 50300 to donate €4 to the charity.

The BUMBLEance service also provides ‘Angel trips’, which they describe as “the final journey a sick child and their parents take together on earth before the child grows their Angel Wings”.

The stress of such a trip is normally left on the shoulders of parents, however with BUMBLEance, this stress is taken away, the parents and the child can concentrate of spending as much quality time together during the child’s remaining days.

Tony Heffernan said it is now a priority to try and get two more BUMBLEances on the road in the next 12 months.

Tony and Mary Heffernan sadly lost their daughter Saoirse in 2011 and their son Liam, 5, died just 11 weeks ago, on May 4 2014, both to Battens Disease, a rare and degenerative condition of the brain.

A Twiz Night charity quiz will be taking place on 18 September to help raise funds for BUMBLEance – more details @Twiznight.

Those wanting to get involved can contact BUMBLEance on 083 00 44 444 orinfo@BUMBLEance.com. Volunteers and fundraisers are welcome to join the team along the route. More info on Facebook/ Twitter or online atwww.BUMBLEance.com

Read: Family loses “superhero” second child to rare Battens Disease>

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