Mary McAleese – President of Ireland 1997-2011

Mary McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was the second female president, and was first elected in 1997 succeeding Mary Robinson. Mrs McAleese met both Liam and Saoirse and invited the Heffernan family to the Aras where she celebrated  Liam’s 2nd birthday. A keen supporter of the family and our charity, Mrs McAleese particularly welcomed the charity’s plans to develop Liam’s Lodge.

“Liam’s Lodge is a fantastic project, a national respite centre for children affected by rare & genetic disorders, a sanctuary from the daily challenges of life which affect the whole family unit, particularly for those whose children which have severely debilitating and life limiting conditions.  I am sure Liam’s Lodge when it is finally realised and its doors of welcome are open, will open up space for much needed joy, hope, friendship, comfort and happy memories, and will be of enormous help to parents and children – a balm in troubled lives.”


Miriam O’Callaghan

Miriam O’Callaghan is an Irish television current affairs presenter with RTÉ. She has presented Prime Time since 1996, and her own summer talk show, Saturday Night with Miriam, since 2005. She is the mother to eight children.

“To have a child with a rare or genetic disease is incredibly difficult. Liam’s Lodge is a fantastic initiative. I am really looking forward to this much needed facility being available for families across Ireland.”

As a Patron of the Charity Miriam has also officially launched each of the charities new BUMBLEance vehicles, meeting many of our BUMBLEance users and knows first hand the difference BUMBLEance and the Saoirse Foundation makes every day to the lives of sick children throughout every county in Ireland.


Jamie Carragher – Liverpool Legend & Founder of the 23 Foundation

Jamie Carragher is a retired English footballer. He was a defender for Premier League club Liverpool for 17 years. He is currently a soccer correspondent and pundit with Sky Sports. In 2014, Jamie’s 23 Foundation, became a partner of the Saoirse Foundation.

“Being part of a team and achieving something together is much more satisfying and I know without the help of my team and teams with which I grew up with I would not have become the individual I am today. I want to help as many children as possible to have a better life. The 23 foundation promotes the idea of we  and us because together as a community and with help from people like you reading this, we can accomplish anything.”

nuala Nuala Carey

Nuala Carey graduated from UCD with a BA (Hons) in English and Sociology and worked for AA Roadwatch before joining the National Broadcaster. She also writes for the Irish Independent on the vagaries of our ever changeable weather. Nuala is a supporter of many charities – she represented the Alzheimer’s Society on Charity You’re a Star, she ran the mini-marathon for Cystic Fibrosis, she has volunteered with the Special Olympics, she launched Carers Week, and she removed her makeup on live television for the Irish Cancer Society. Now, she is a patron of BUMBLEance. Nuala is delighted to lend her support to Tony and Mary Heffernan’s inspiring initiative.

Matt CooperMatt Cooper

Matt Cooper is an Irish journalist, author, television presenter, and radio presenter of The Last Word on Today FM.

“I am deeply honoured that Tony has asked me to assist in his incredible efforts to make life better for sick Irish children … and indeed for their parents. Anyone who has met Tony will have been more than impressed by both his compassion and his passion. He has been selfless in his work and anything that I can do to help him is a privilege. But far more important is what he is achieving, both in his plans for Liam’s Lodge, the respite centre and hospice, and the BUMBLEance, the wonderful custom built ambulance that offers some much needed comfort to very sick children. Whatever we can do, we should.”


Gerry Duffy

Gerry Duffy is an accomplished motivational speaker and writer. His accomplishments include running 32 marathons in 32 days, and winning the 2011 UK DECA Enduroman Iron distance triathlon, an event dubbed The toughest ten-day endurance challenge in the world. Gerry firmly believes that human beings can do far more than we give ourselves credit for and is keen on leading by example.


Willie Casey

Willie Casey

Willie “Big Bang” Casey is an Irish professional boxer from Co. Limerick. He won the Prizefighter series in May 2010 in the super bantamweight division, defeating Mark Moran, Josh Wale and Paul McElhinney. Willie has been raising awareness for Battens Disease since 2010. He was named Boxer of the Year at the Irish National Boxing Awards in 2011.