Casey Connors with her mam Rachel
A little girl has overcome her dread of hospital visits by becoming the first child with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), to use the children’s ambulance service, Bumbleance.
Casey Connors attends an outpatient clinic regularly to receive treatment for the painful and incurable condition, which causes skin to break out in blisters at the slightest touch.
But the 11-year-old schoolgirl, who lives next to the Liffey Valley shopping centre in Dublin 22, hated going to Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin because she had to fast before her treatment for EB.
Casey lives with the most severe form of the condition – recessive dystrophic EB.
Also known as Butterfly Skin, EB is caused by the absence of essential proteins that bind the skin together.
Casey’s hospital journeys are now a lot more enjoyable after a brightly coloured Bumbleance arrives at her door.
It is the world’s first dedicated ambulance service for children, and all of its 15 vehicles have been designed to transform a feared hospital appointment into a fun day out.
Making 2,000 trips each year, each of the distinctive yellow and black Bumbleances are kitted out with flat-screen TVs with access to Netflix, PlayStations and iPad Airs to help keep worried youngsters distracted.
Children can also listen to music or read a book from the Bumbleance library as they travel to hospital.
There is also onboard wi-fi, which allows families to stay in touch with loved ones through social media.
Casey’s mum, Rachel, said her daughter used to dread hospital visits, but now can’t wait for her next journey aboard the Bumbleance to her appointment in Crumlin.
“Normally, going to hospital can be very stressful for Casey,” she said.
“But the Bumbleance experience makes the trip calm and relaxed.
“It was great being dropped off and then collected after a long day in the outpatients’ department.
“The Bumbleance staff were really nice and helpful, and they took time to show Casey all the stuff on board for her to do before we drove off.
“Casey was enjoying herself so much that she wasn’t thinking about her hospital appointment at all, or annoyed by having to fast beforehand.
“We will definitely use Bumbleance again.”
Casey and Rachel also receive support from national charity, Debra, which helps the estimated 300 people in Ireland living with EB.
“Our team are delighted that Casey and Rachel had such a lovely first experience with Bumbleance,” said Ian Fallon, General Manager, Bumbleance.
“We are committed to meeting the needs of children and communities nationwide. By working with Debra, Bumbleance has been able to ensure that children with EB receive the necessary care and attention while en route to their medical appointments.”
For more information about Debra and EB, visit debra.