Funding drive for children’s ambulance service which has undertaken 13000 trips

Children’s Ambulance charity BUMBLEance are calling on people to take part in their Run, Walk and Roll - 180km challenge in March and April. Here the charity tells us more about their work and the current fundraising drive
Funding drive for children’s ambulance service which has undertaken 13000 trips

Founders of BUMBLEance, husband and wife Tony and Mary Heffernan. Picture: Brian Lougheed

BUMBLEance Children’s Ambulance are keeping the wheels turning during the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to help families across Ireland in these challenging times.

The interactive ambulance service, which was founded by Mary and Tony Heffernan, prides itself on delivering smiles to Ireland’s youngest patients. The charity is asking you to undertake your very own BUMBLEance journey this Spring.

Charity Co-Founder and CEO Tony Heffernan explains: “Our King and Queen Bees travel an average of 180km in a single trip for their hospital appointments and we are asking the public to Run, Walk & Roll this distance over the month of March or April. Inclusivity and family are at the heart of all that we do here at BUMBLEance, and this is a campaign for everyone to get involved in. This means covering an average just under 6km per day. Participants can do this at their own pace and in any way that they wish –on foot, by bicycle or wheelchair– the options are endless- and inclusive for everyone to get involved!”

Charity is very much starting at home for this challenge with Co-Founder Mary Heffernan donning her own running shoes and taking up the mantle.

“I will be doing the Run, Walk & Roll again in the memory of our children Saoirse and Liam. 

"They are at the heart of all that we do here, this charity is their legacy. We would love if people would get on-board and undertake the 180k challenge.”

BUMBLEance is the world’s first fully interactive, state of the art, Children’s Ambulance Service. It provides a free national service for critically and seriously ill children, who require transportation between their home and children’s hospitals, hospices, national treatment centres and respite centres.

BUMBLEance is part of The Saoirse Foundation which was founded by the Heffernan’s in 2010 after their young daughter, Saoirse, was diagnosed with the rare and always fatal neurological condition Batten Disease. Little Saoirse passed away in January 2011 when she was only 5 years old. Tragically the Heffernan’s son Liam was also diagnosed with Batten Disease. He grew his angel wings also at the tender age of five in 2014.

“BUMBLEance also provides a very unique and specialised service through its end of life Angel Trips. 

"These trips bring the children that are in palliative care on their final journeys home. Before the Angel Trip service, parents would often have to drive themselves home with their loved one by car or taxi. We continue to deliver the Angel Trips during the Covid-19 crisis. Mary and I know first-hand the importance of this service when Liam had his Angel Trip on BUMBLEance in May 2014. 

"BUMBLEance is all about helping other families and we know that heartache too well.” says Tony.

There have been over 13000 trips nationwide since BUMBLEance inception and there are hundreds of families availing of the charity’s services, all of which are free. Despite their fundraising plan been devastated due to the pandemic, the charity continues to help families from across the country and provide invaluable support.

Veronica Collins from Co. Clare, whose little boy Shaye is one of the charity’s King Bees says: ”Having the benefit of going on the BUMBLEance to appointments during the pandemic has shown me as a Mom and a carer, its importance and value more than ever. BUMBLEance is a ray of sunshine that has shone through the negativity surrounding Covid 19” For those that would like to sign up for the Run, Walk & Roll 180km Challenge there is a form on the charity’s website, All participants will receive a digital certification of completion.

“The charity is dependent on fundraising and this is a very uncertain time financially. 

"It is our mission to continue to help King and Queen Bees who are reliant on the services of BUMBLEance but we can’t do this without the continued support of the public. Every day was an adventure for Saoirse and we want people to have their own BUMBLEance adventure by getting out this March and April and doing 180k for BUMBLEance and helping Ireland’s youngest patients,” says Tony.

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