Two-year-old Amber-Louise Jones was brought to Temple Street Children’s hospital in the new Bumbleance today.
Little Amber-Louise is undergoing tests to determine if she has mitochondrial disorder, but her plight and that of her mother Sarah was mitigated somewhat today by her chance to ride in the new children’s ambulance.
Bumbleance is a state-of-the-art, fun ambulance that is designed to put a smile on a sick child’s face.
It has wifi, an ipad, a newbie, a games console,a dvd player, mood lighting, and traditional ‘distractions’ like reading/colouring books to keep children content on their journeys to and from hospital.
Sarah told independent.ie how harrowing the family’s journeys to Temple Street hospital were before the Bumbleance was made.
“We used to travel up on the train and people used to try to move us out of their seats because they had pre-booked the seats. One man came up to us on the train and said we don’t need to be taking up that many seats - he said that because he needed the table for his laptop.”
“The Bumbleance is a Godsend. It’s the comfort and the warmth, and the familiar surroundings. Me and my Mam can come up with her and relax. It’s a Godsend.”
“She was watching Beauty and the Beast coming up. It’s a Godsend.”
Paramedic Lucy Wolinska, 20, who drove Amber-Louise up to hospital today said the ambulance has made her job even more worthwhile.
“We’re equipped and trained to do with anything in this ambulance. This is not an emergency ambulance – it’s for very sick kids who have to travel long distances from Kerry to Dublin.”
“From a parents point of view, it’s great as well. We pick up the kids – it’s literally a door to door service.”
“The distraction is fantastic. They look at the bumble bees in the ambulance and you can instantly see it really calming them.”
“We have mood lighting which helps – people can relax and listen to music and watch TV.”
The Saoirse Foundation, which fundraised for the bumbleance, aims to put four ambulances on the road by 2015. There will be one bumbleance for every province, to take terminally ill children to their appointments.
The public’s support has been fantastic, according to Lucy.
“People are great. They’re beeping us and waving – people recognise us.”