12-year-old Mayo boy becomes first passenger on BUMBLEair flight

Keith Gallagher and his dad are flying to Dublin for treatment

12-year-old Mayo boy becomes first passenger on BUMBLEair flight

Image: bumbleance.com

A 12-year-old Mayo boy was flown to Dublin for treatment aboard Ireland's first ever BUMBLEair flight - a helicopter to transport sick children.

The trip was arranged by the Saoirse Foundation, the charity behind the BUMBLEance service.

Cancer patient Keith Gallagher and his dad were aboard BUMBLEair flight #1 on Sunday.

They went from Knock Airport to Weston Aerodrome.

From there they were picked up by a children's ambulance and taken to Crumlin Children's Hospital, where Keith will receive treatment.

The helicopter was flown by commercial helicopter pilot Ryan Hanrahan, who recently contacted the foundation, offering to help out for free.

The flight was a trial-run, but the Saoirse Foundation hope to make it a more regular fixture of its offering to sick children.

The BUMBLEance children's ambulance service operates a fleet specially kitted-out ambulances - providing free transport from any corner of Ireland for very sick children up to 18 years of age.

The outside and inside of the BUMBLEance | Image: saoirsefoundation.com

CEO of the Saoirse Foundation, Tony Heffernan, said: "This helicopter service for sick kids has been on our wish list for a while so I'm delighted that it's finally becoming a reality today.

"By taking some of the travel stress away it will make a big difference to Keith and his family during this difficult time."

"Keith is one of our many King Bees - a wonderful boy who deserves and will get a lot of our attention.

"Keith and his family have had a difficult time recently. Not only was he diagnosed with a serious strain of cancer but the family also lost their mum to cancer recently."

Keith's dad, David, has been travelling by road with Keith for chemo treatment every week since April.

"The air flight will cut that travel time for them and hopefully help to take away some of the stress of dealing with Keith's illness," Mr Heffernan said.