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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

'It's helped us function': TG4 documentary highlights impact of 'Bumbleance' for parents with sick children

TG4′s ‘Tabú: Bumbleance’ airs tomorrow evening at 9:30pm.

Source: TG4/YouTube

“IT’S ENABLED US to function,” says Kerry-based Susan Walsh, whose three-year-old son JC suffers from Ayme-Gripp Syndrome.

JC was diagnosed shortly after his birth and spent three months in Temple Street Hospital, Dublin where he requires treatment. 

Travelling from Ballinaskelligs, Co Kerry to Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin by car is a ten-hour round trip for Walsh and her husband.  “It was very stressful,” she said. “You’re wrecked for two or three days after.”

Once, said Walsh, the Civil Defence transported JC from Kerry to Dublin in order to receive treatment for Ayme-Gripp, a rare condition that impairs vision, hearing and a person’s ability to walk. 

As part of ‘Tabú’ on TG4 - a series of standalone hour-long documentaries – Walsh has taken part in a documentary airing tomorrow evening to highlight the difference Bumbleance has made to parents like her. 

The Children’s National Ambulance Service’s ‘Bumbleance’ vehicles, established in 2014, aim to take the stress out of a trip to the hospital for ill children.

The vehicles are kitted out with necessary state-of-the-art medical equipment as well as gadgets including Playstations, DVD players and iPads.

Crucially, they’ve enough room for parents to travel with their kids.

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

The Heffernans sadly lost their daughter Saoirse in 2011 and their son Liam in 2014, both to Batten Disease, a rare and degenerative condition of the brain.

There’s now a fleet of Bumbleances on the road. In July 2017, 12-year-old Keith Gallagher from Mayo became the first BUMBLEair passenger when he flew to Dublin for treatment.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Walsh. 

In TG4′s documentary, JC is brought by plane from Kerry to Dublin in 40 minutes. Upon arrival, he’s met by Bumbleance driver John who brings him on to Temple Street. 

TG4′s ‘Tabú: Bumbleance’ airs tomorrow evening at 9:30pm. 

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