Pictured Above: Volunteers from Blood Bike Mid-West pictured at the launch with Frank Keane, Directorate Manager, Maternal and Child Health, University Maternity Hospital, Limerick, Cllr Mary Howard, Clare County Council, Minister Michael Noonan and Dr Roy Philips, Clinical Director for Maternal and Child Health, University Maternity Hospital Limerick.
Launching the service, Mr Michael Noonan said “Blood Bike Mid-West have done an enormous amount of work already. I wish you every success. What you do is important, relevant and amazing. Congratulations and keep at it”.
Blood Bike Mid-West is a registered charity based in Limerick, serving Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. Blood Bike Mid-West relies entirely on fundraising, voluntary contributions and donations to meet the basic operational costs of providing this service. Further information about Blood Bike Mid-West is available from www.bloodbikemidwest.ie
Blood Bike Mid-West was set up in response to the identified need for an out hours service providing the transport of essential items to relieve emergency situations. The hours of operation are Monday to Thursday from 7pm-7am and from 7pm Friday evenings to 7am Monday mornings. This ensures a complete 24-hour service at weekends, including bank holidays.
Blood Bike Mid-West riders are professional or semi-professional motorbike riders. All are required to complete the RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) training programme and to achieve the RoSPA Advanced Riding Certificate, silver or gold standard. When on call, the rostered team members are based at the University Maternity Hospital Limerick, but serve counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. The Blood Bike Mid-West team also liaises with Blood Bike teams in other parts of the country in order to provide the most efficient service to patients and healthcare facilities throughout Ireland.
Additionally, as there is no breast milk bank in the Republic of Ireland, Blood Bike Mid-West transports products from the breast milk bank in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, to support premature babies and sick infants, and their mothers, in the mid-west. Blood Bike groups are the sole transportation providers for breast milk in the Republic of Ireland.
Speaking prior to the launch, John Sheedy, one of the Directors of Blood Bike Mid-West explained his reasons for getting involved: “I began doing voluntary work after my son Noel died. He was only seven… Our local doctor and the doctors and nurses at the hospital were outstanding and they did their absolute best for Noel. There was a special drug he needed but it was held in Dublin and the hospital had to get it down to Limerick. They did it as fast as they could, but it was too late for Noel… Some years later, I saw how well Blood Bike UK was working and I thought if we could do that here, wouldn’t it be fantastic? I felt if we could save even one other family from the pain that we are still going through, it would be worthwhile”.
Ken Driscoll, Chairperson of Blood Bike Mid-West, added “We are constantly looking for support and for new volunteers as we try to expand our service within the Mid-West region. We rely entirely on fundraising to provide our service, so we would be delighted to speak to any individual, organisation or business who might be in a position to support us financially. We also have volunteer opportunities in Blood Bike Mid-West for motorcyclists, drivers and operational controllers, as well as in the admin and support end of things, including book-keeping, fundraising and public relations. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact us through our website www.bloodbikemidwest.ie or by email: [email protected].”
Frank Keane, Directorate Manager, Maternal and Child Health Directorate, HSE West also commented that ”Blood Bike Mid-West is currently proving to be of immense benefit to the Maternity Hospital particularly. The Blood Bike staff, although they’re all volunteers, have proven to be extremely professional in their approach to the business with exceptional attention to detail at all times. They are truly complimentary to the service we provide and are very much valued as part of the healthcare team. University Maternity Hospital Limerick has been particularly happy to be associated with Blood Bike from their very inception”.