Five minute focus on: David McCarthy, The Saoirse Foundation and BUMBLEance

Glandore Members & Partners

Tell us about yourself?

I am a 42 year old dad of two boys.  I am married to Sarah and we live in Ballinlough. I am still (delusional some would say) a keen rugby player with Douglas RFC and a bit of a dreamer. I am a believer in empowering people and love to see innovation in all its forms drive efficiency and productivity. A big fan of the concepts of ‘Equity’ and ‘Pay it forward’ I try to live my life in a way that helps not hinders those around me (not always successfully).

Tell us about the Saoirse Foundation and BUMBLEance?

We are a fully fundraised charity that provides a free to user Children’s Ambulance service.  We started five years ago with a single vehicle and now have 11 on the road with two more under construction.  We also support families of children with rare disease with financial and information supports.

The main focus of our work is to support kids and their families to get to and from hospital for and after treatment.  To help bring it to life; we have a little girl who lives in rural Kerry and for her to get to Dublin she has to drive to Tralee, get two trains to Dublin and two trains to Crumlin.  She then has her treatment and feeling ill and vulnerable must turn around and do the same horrendous trip home.

What we can do is a single journey cutting up to eight hours from the day saving her and the family untold stress.

However, what makes us extra special is what we have on board.  We have TV, playstations, Ipads, music, books and more.  The simple idea is to make the trip a little bit more fun and less scary.

Essentially, we deliver smiles.

What is your role in the company?

I am currently the Chief Operating Officer.

Tell us something about the Saoirse Foundation and BUMBLEance that we may not know?

We are the only service of its kind that operates anywhere in the world.

What’s next for The Saoirse Foundation and BUMBLEance in Cork?

We have recently launched our new Chemo Cab services. This sees us utilize smaller less involved vehicles to transport kids in and out of scheduled chemotherapy sessions. We hope to expand the delivery of this service in the Cork region by the year end.

What is your favourite thing about working in Cork?

As a proud Cork man, I could write a parallel to Ulysses here but in the interests of brevity… I have to say seeing the City grow right outside my window is amazing and thrilling.  I can see the energy, the vibrancy and diversity that it is bringing to the life of the City and it excites. We have a range of eateries and watering holes now to rival any city and there is always something on and something to do.

As a destination for travel or work we are really punching above our weight.

What do you like about being a Glandore Member?

The comfort and style of the space makes working in the shared space so easy. The staff are great and have been so welcoming and accommodating since I arrived.

I also enjoy seeing the new businesses around me busy striving for their future. There is a great energy in the space that gives you the sense of things on the move.

And of course, the everlasting availability of coffee…

Friday nights in, or Friday night out?

See my opening line…Friday nights in these days.  Although, I have been known to sample a snifter or two en route to stories and bedtime of an occasional Friday.

The Saoirse Foundation was founded by Tony and Mary Heffernan in 2010 after their daughter, Saoirse, was diagnosed with Batten Disease (Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses – NCL) – a rare and fatal neurological condition.

When the Heffernan’s second child, Liam, was also diagnosed with Batten Disease, the reach of The Saoirse Foundation was expanded to a second project, BUMBLEance ,The Children’s National Ambulance Service. Launched in 2013, BUMBLEance is the world’s first ambulance service designed and tailored exclusively for children. In 2014, Liam was the first-ever patient to travel on board BUMBLEance as he travelled home from hospital for the last time on his Angel Trip.

For more information visit or follow @BUMBLEance.

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