ONE HUNDRED gardai from Limerick and beyond will take part in the Great Limerick Run this Sunday in memory of a six year-old girl who died last year and to raise funds for a new charity which made a difference to her final days.
In a phenomenal display of solidarity to their colleague Eamonn Quaid, who works in Henry Street garda station, gardai from across Limerick, and from north and south of the border, will run in memory of his daughter Aislinn.
Diagnosed with a brain tumour at just ten weeks old, Aislinn, from Ballysimon, passed away last November after bravely battling her illness.
Parents Eamonn and Marie, who both serve with the Army Reserve, were left devastated by the loss of their only child, but remain thankful to the new BUMBLEance charity, which helped to make her smile on several journeys to hospital in Dublin.
Eamonn, 37, a former software engineer and a civilian garda, said while “it’s not a life saving service or going to cure anything”, the difference it made to him, his wife and their daughter was invaluable.
He said Aislinn, who spent periods of time in five hospitals across the country, loved travelling in the BUMBLEance, watching the Balamory children’s programme on her iPad as they travelled up to hospital in Dublin.
“It’s a great way to distract and entertain children on their way to hospital, and take away the stress of the experience. It’s a great stress-reliever for all the families who have to make that journey, and just makes life that little bit easier, ” he said.
Launched just last September, BUMBLEance provides a professional medical transport in a fun environment, for children who are long-term sick or seriously disabled who require ambulance transportation from their homes to their treatment centres.
The free service, which was set up by Tony and Mary Heffernan from Kerry, has just one ambulance at present, but depending on donations from the public they hope to acquire more. Among those taking part is Superintendent Dan Keane, of Henry Street station, who is looking forward to completing his first Great Limerick Run, and second half-marathon in recent months.
“It’s a hugely important charity, and we’ve seen first hand the good work that they do. When the children are in the ambulance it distracts them and makes them think about happier things. It’s a fantastic charity,” he said.
Among the others taking part is keen marathon runner Garda Shane Hayes, Henry Street station, who is doing the half marathon this year after doing the 10km within the relay marathon last year.
“It’s a very worthy cause, and we just want to highlight it and show people what it’s about, as many people might not be aware of it, but we hope the vibrant yellow t-shirts on the day will be well spotted,” he said.
A bucket collection will be held in Henry Street garda station on the day. To make a €4 donation to BUMBLEance text Buzz to 50300.