Bumbleance, the world’s first interactive children’s ambulance service has expanded its operations with the introduction of a new, smaller, regionally-based unit, appropriately named Bumbleette.
Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles sales manager, Fergus Conheady and Saoirse Foundation and Bumbleance founder Tony Heffernan pictured at the unveiling of Bumbleette – a new regional service which will provide free transport to sick children throughout Donegal and the wider North West region.
No less visible than Bumbleance itself – and finished outside and inside with the same cartoon-like ‘bumble bee’ imagery – the new Bumbleette is built on an extra-long Mercedes-Benz Vito body.
To eliminate stress and create more relaxing surroundings for children, its internal décor and features include all of the online and interactive elements it is possible to provide with all of the wi-fi, audio-visual and child-friendly gizmos that have made the Bumbleance service so successful.
First of the new Bumbleette units will be based in Donegal, servicing the county and the wider North West region.
Inside, its accommodation can be configured according to need with space for a driver and five seated passengers. Other options provide for two wheelchair patients with one accompanying adult each, or one stretcher-bound patient plus driver and four seated passengers.
In operation, it will be used to transport sick or terminally-ill children between their homes and treatment centres.
Brainchild of Tony Heffernan and the Saoirse Foundation, the Bumbleance service was established in 2013. Since then, and with the support of Mercedes-Benz, the service has expanded and today provides a range of supports that includes a ‘chemo-cab’ service for critically-ill children and a specialised ‘angel trip’ service for those receiving palliative care.
Speaking at the launch, founder Tony Heffernan spoke of his goal to create an Ireland “where the fear and stress of an ambulance journey for a child no longer exists”.
Responding, Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles sales manager, Fergus Conheady described Bumbleance as “one of the most worthwhile projects that Mercedes-Benz is proud to have been involved in from inception”.