Celebrity Biker Charley Boorman Launches Ireland's First Blood Bike Service
“It is truly inspiring to see a group of people come together to give so generously of their time to not only serve their community but to save lives.”
English TV adventurer, travel writer and celebrity biker Charley Boorman, was speaking at the official launch of Ireland's first blood bike emergency medical transportation service, Blood Bike West, in Galway, Monday October 8.
The 24-hour emergency rider voluntary service will transport urgently needed blood, blood products, patient records, drugs and other medical requirements between hospitals and blood transfusion banks, primarily but not exclusively in the western region.
Mike Carty, chairman and founder of Blood Bike West described the launch as a “a first step in developing a comprehensive service in the West of Ireland.”
“Our charity combines our passion for motor-biking and our commitment to civic leadership. A team of 10 volunteers will run the service which is operational Monday to Thursday 7pm to 7am and from 7pm on Fridays to 7am on Mondays, with a complete 24-hour service over the weekend and on Bank Holidays.”
“We offer our free service to private hospitals and other medical outlets, but our first partnership is with Galway University Hospitals to transport urgent blood and other medical products at all times of the day and night.
“We couldn’t have brought this project to fruition without the support of our sponsors. Bluebird Care Galway who actually bought the bike for us and Carole Nash who are our insurers,” says Mike Carty.
Blood Bike West is made up of a dedicated team of ten riders and crew, who have received advanced training through RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and undergo regular reviews of their skills. They received their Certificates of Accreditation at today’s launch.
Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer, Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group welcomed the provision of the service, “By providing this service Blood Bikes West are directly impacting the lives of patients and their families throughout the Western region. Their service also provides added value to the hospital by reducing our reliance on couriers’ fees and taxi fares. Their swift delivery and speedy response in times of need will prove invaluable and indeed could make the difference between life and death.”
The specially liveried Honda motorcycle Pan European ST1100, an ex-Metropolitan Police bike generously sponsored by Bluebird Care is fully kitted out and specially adapted to carry the products. All Blood Bike riders are Garda Vetted and carry official identity cards which are worn at all times whilst on duty.
Director of Bluebird Care Galway, Sean Lyons says, “we are delighted to be on board with this invaluable service that will make a huge difference to the peoples lives in the West of Ireland. We very much look forward to supporting this group of volunteers committed to serving the community and saving lives.”
Mr. Boorman was invited to the launch by motorcycle insurance specialist, Carole Nash, for whom he is an official ambassador. The company stepped in to support Blood Bikes West when the charity was struggling to find insurance cover for its operations. Carole Nash's marketing manager, Lisa Buckley, said the firm was delighted to be able to help. “We are more than happy to help out in providing protection for those who will protect the lives of others. Blood Bikes West is simply a wonderful service in which to be involved and we wish them all the best.”
The team at Blood Bike West aim to promote good practice among their volunteer riders and improve the perception of bikers from other people on the road.
All riders will have to hold an advanced riding qualification to ride the Blood Bike. High-Viz jackets are worn at all times and the Blood Bike West bike is marked so that both bike and rider are extremely visible to the public when riding.
If you are interested in joining the Blood Bikes West team as a blood runner, co-ordinator, fundraiser, marshal, committee member or if you would simply like to donate log onto www.bloodbikewest.ie for more information.