On a poignant anniversary for its co-founders, Mary and Tony Heffernan, children’s medical charity The Saoirse Foundation has today launched the newest in its fleet of specially kitted-out ambulances, stationed around the country and ready to provide critical care for children and families around the country.
The Heffernans’ daughter, Saoirse, passed away in January 2011 at the age of five — today would have been her sixteenth birthday.
To mark the occasion, the charity has entered its sixteenth new BUMBLEance into active service, working across the country to aid the existing fleet.
At the launch at Connolly Hospital, Dublin, were patron and media personality Miriam O’Callaghan, the Heffernans, Elish Hardiman of Children’s Health Ireland, and Dr Dermot Doherty.
It follows yesterday’s launch of BUMBLEance number 15, to further assist the charity’s operations in the South East of the country.
Speaking at the launch, Tony and Mary Heffernan said, “It’s an absolute honour to remember Saoirse in this special way, little did we know that on what should have been our daughter’s very special 16th birthday that we would be launching our 16th BUMBLEance instead.
“Saoirse’s memory is a driving force that helps us to continue to work with the dedicated teams across Ireland who together, proactively care for and support sick children in the most tangible way, we hope that many families will benefit from this new vehicle and also via the existing fleet stationed around the country”.
The Heffernans first partnered with the Irish Paediatric Acute Transport Service (IPATS) over five years ago with their original BUMBLEance, #1, which would take their son Liam for his end-of-life “angel trip” in 2014.
Dr Dermot Doherty, lead of the Critical Care Retrieval Service said: “NAS-CCRS received a BUMBLEance critical care ambulance some years ago as a gift to the IPATS team. It was an amazing gift and provided resilience to the fleet as the IPATS service commenced.”
“When this vehicle travels under blue lights and sirens, it was clear to all that there are very precious little people on board.”