World’s first Interactive Children’s Ambulance Service launched by
Irish Non-Profit Charity, The Saoirse Foundation
BUMBLEance will facilitate scheduled hospital/ treatment visits for children that meet set medical criteria
BUMBLEance, the World’s 1st interactive children’s ambulance which was revealed today for the first time, is the brainchild of Tony Heffernan, who along with his wife Mary founded the Saoirse Foundation in March 2010 after their late daughter Saoirse, who passed away in Jan 2011.
The Heffernan’s reasons for creating BUMBLEance are clear: “Speaking from our personal experience, we saw the stress our late daughter Saoirse experienced when undertaking many ambulance journeys from the family home in rural Ireland to the National Children’s Hospitals in Dublin. We decided that there was no point doing nothing about it”.
Every parent knows that an ambulance journey with a child can be very traumatic, however within BUMBLEance, fun will be the medicine of the day, making an ambulance journey less stressful and fun. The 132-registered vehicle will be used to transport sick children to scheduled appointments between home and the various National Treatment Centres and Hospice /Respite Centres.
The Saoirse Foundation is very hopeful of support from the business community and members of the public. These donations are integral to the future of the BUMBLEance service in Ireland and its growth. The charity is also hoping to collect 30,000 used mobile phones, sufficient to allow the service operate for 52 weeks of the year.
What makes BUMBLEance different is that it looks like a giant Bumble Bee on the outside. Inside, all of the necessary state of the art medical equipment is hidden and instead the child will experience a comfortable journey with their parents surrounded by all the latest gadgets and gizmos.
The latest AV equipment is inter-connected onboard via a “Control 4” system and allows the child, using a single controller, to operate the 19-inch LED TV, DVD, iPad, Nubi, and Sony PlayStation console, with a full library of films, apps, e-books, music and games available, from the comfort of the latest Ferno stretcher.
The on-board dual channel WiFi allows internet browsing, social media engagement as well as Skype calls to be made to anywhere in the world. Members of the public will be able to message or tweet their best wishes to the child on-board, who can track their progress using satellite monitoring. There are also two fridges available to the family, to store necessary food, beverages and medicine.
Minister Frances FitzGerald attended the launch with RTE’s Miriam O Callaghan, is very supportive of this unique and essential service.
Minister Fitzgerald said: “I wish to congratulate the Saoirse foundation on the innovative, child-centred approach they took in developing the BUMBLEance. I hope in the future that we will see more developments in healthcare and other fields which are designed around the child just as the BUMBLEance is”.
Joanna Fortune, Child Physiologist at Solamh Clinic, stated: “This is a superb initiative by Tony Heffernan and The Saoirse Foundation. There is no doubt that the child friendly, fun and sensory engaging BUMBLEance will serve to decrease the levels of fear and anxiety of young children who have to travel to and from hospital by Ambulance”.
Joanna added “Neuro-scientific research shows the areas of the brain that are stimulated by physical pain are also activated by emotional pain including stress, fear and anxiety. A stressful journey when already in physical discomfort serves only to exacerbate the physical symptoms for the child however traveling in the BUMBLEance alleviates the stress and fear associated with ambulance travel for children and so they arrive for treatment in a much more contained and relaxed state of mind…as the Heffernan’s say “Fun is the medicine” here.
Joanna concluded “I believe the BUMBLEance is a child friendly environment serving to emotionally regulate an anxious child as well as anxious parents meaning they arrive in the hospital in a calm, contained, content state, which also helps the Doctors in treating the child”.
BUMBLEance has partnered with Lifeline Ambulance Service, who will provide their professional services and supports to the charity at cost. This is a not for profit venture and the main aim of this service is for fulfil the Saoirse Foundation mission of making positive life impacts for sick children. The service will be available to patients that qualify for the service under strict medical criteria and each client will be booked in advance into the BUMBLEance’s busy schedule.
Not only is BUMBLEance the World’s first interactive CHILDREN’S AMBULANCE SERVICE, it is also the world’s most modern & energy-efficient ambulance. Safety is the first priority though; the ambulance chassis is an upgraded Mercedes 519 vehicle, and all Lifeline staff are Garda vetted and have received additional training to manage the transportation of children with any condition.
David Hall from Lifeline said: “Tony and I made initial contact on Twitter and we then met to discuss the concept. I acknowledged that there was a gap in the ambulance sector for such a service. We are delighted to be associated with this innovative but extremely relevant venture. The concept of paediatric transfers is not new, but no Irish child is likely to have experienced the type of child-friendly ambulance transport service that will shortly be available to eligible patients.”
Tony Heffernan added: “Our vision is to have one BUMBLEance for each province by the end of 2015 plus an additional BUMBLEance for Dublin. We want to be in a position to offer this service to every parent of a sick child that requires ambulance transportation to appointments and would ask everyone to support us and also to send us old mobile phones to guarantee the growth of our service. In the future we hope BUMBLEance will take off, literally.”