Young Boy From Lifford Uses World’s First Interactive Ambulance Service

DSC_000004Last week, two year old Jack Beattie from Lifford was the first child from Donegal to use BUMBLEance, the World’s 1st interactive children’s ambulance.  
BUMBLEance is transporting sick children from all over Ireland to their treatment centres in an attempt to make like a little easier for the child and their parents.
Little Jack who suffers from Brittle Bones Disease, makes the long and usually uncomfortable journey every three months to Temple St. Children’s Hospital in Dublin for treatment.
Last week however, Jack made a journey with a difference.  Jack’s parents Ruth and Kenneth described the journey as “very comfortable and much less stressful, as Jack spent it singing and playing with the iPad, Playstation and all the other fun and games on board the ambulance.”
BUMBLEance is the brain-child of Tony Heffernan of the Saoirse Foundation. DSC_0023
Tony’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 Childrens’ Hospital in Dublin.  We decided that there was no point doing nothing about it”.
Every parent will appreciate that making an ambulance journey with a child can be very traumatic. However within BUMBLEance, fun is the medicine of the day, making an ambulance journey less stressful and much more enjoyable. The 132-registered vehicle is used to transport sick children to scheduled appointments between home and the various National Treatment Centres & Hospice /Respite Centres.
The Saoirse Foundation, a not-for-profit venture which receives no state funding for this service, is very hopeful of ongoing 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 future 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 what the child and parents see as they approach and enter through the back doors. Firstly the BUMBLEance looks like Bumbleance_01a giant Bumble Bee on the outside. Inside, the child’s focus is instantly diverted away from all of the necessary medical equipment and instead the child will experience a comfortable journey with their parents, surrounded and entertained by many of the latest gadgets and gizmos technology has to offer.
The AV equipment is all inter connected onboard via a “Control 4” system, allowing the child to operate the 19inch LED TV, DVD player, iPad, Nubi, and Sony PlayStation console, with a full library of films, apps, ebooks, music and games using a single controller, from the comfort of the latest Ferno stretcher.  The on-board dual channel Wi-Fi allows internet browsing, social media engagement as well as SKYPE calls to be made anywhere in the world.
BUMBLEance is supported by Lifeline Ambulance Service, who operate the vehicle and provide professional clinical services and supports to the charity at cost. All Lifeline staff members are Garda vetted and have received additional training to manage the transportation of children with rare diseases.
Not only is BUMBLEance Ireland’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, with a number of active safety systems such as traction control and electronic brake distribution. The vehicle is also equipped with the latest developments in software, control and automation services from ATSR, including a state-of-the-art satellite tracking system.
The main aim of this service is for the Saoirse Foundation to make positive life impacts for sick children. The service is available to patients that qualify for the service under strict criteria and each client will be booked in advance into the BUMBLEance’s busy schedule.
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. We hope that, in the future, BUMBLEance will take off, literally.”