History of Blood Bikes East
An Idea Forms
In the summer of 2012 Pat McCabe was watching an episode of 'Emergency Bikers'. Like any other avid motorcycle rider and enthusiast, the next best thing to being out on your bike is watching a program about them. During one of the breaks a feature ad came on showing how Honda UK was supporting a blood bikes group there. It piqued Pat's interest but like so many great initiatives it didn't happen immediately. Pat kept thinking about this service and wondering if it could be brought to Ireland.
Later that summer Pat took part in a Cross-Ireland Motorbike Run to Galway. As the group arrived In Eyre Square, he saw a bike that looked remarkably like the UK Blood Bike shown in the advert he had seen earlier in the year. As fate would have it the bike pulled in beside him and the rider turned out to be Mike Carty of Blood Bike West (the first Blood Bike group in Ireland which had just launched). Pat proceeded to ask Mike hundreds of questions about how Blood Bike West worked and what their services meant for the hospitals in the west of Ireland.
That discussion made Pat determined to form a Blood Bike group in the east and so the idea now had a name: Blood Bikes East.
Turning an Idea into Reality
On returning to Dublin, Pat began seriously researching what was required and liaising further with Mike Carty and with some of the UK Blood Bike groups. By October 2012 the basic framework was in place and Pat posted messages online looking for interested parties to attend a meeting in a Dublin hotel. 15 people turned up to that first meeting and the idea of BBE was so positively received that within days of the meeting BBE was officially formed.
BBE started operating with a single motorbike and 30 volunteers. The first run occurred in late October 2012, just 2 days after signing the first SLA with Temple Street Childrens' Hospitals.
The real boost for BBE came when DoneDeal.ie chose BBE as the December 2012 recipient of its charity donations initiative. This provided BBE with an incredible €33,000. This allowed BBE to purchase a fleet of 4 motorbikes and fully fit them out.
The official launch event took place in April 2013 at the Mansion House in Dublin with the then Lord Mayor Naoise O'Muiri and PJ Gallagher.
In the years since launch BBE has grown strongly every year. Just looking at the records of completed transports gives us a good indication:
BUT this does not tell the whole story.
In 2017 BBE began transporting Human Breast Milk for the National Breast Milk Bank in Enniskillen. Liaising with hospitals, mothers, fellow Blood Bike groups around the country enables this invaluable facility to offer a country wide collection and delivery service to the most vulnerable members of our society and we are very proud to be a part of their story.
We also work directly with families whose children are going through life threatening treatments, enabling tests to be done at home and transported by us to their relevant hospital lab. This relieves the families from unnecessary travel, undue strain on the patient and means medication can be managed on a timely basis contributing to an improved outcome for the patient
In January 2017, recognising the amazing work of the entire team, Blood Bikes East was accepted into NABB (National Association of Blood Bikes), a U.K. based governing body that sets the standards for Blood Bikes organisations across the UK and Ireland. In place since the early 1960s in the UK they have decades of experience in best practice that we can learn from.
We are no longer a fledgling organisation run just by enthusiasm, we have matured into today’s organisation (still 100% voluntary with no government subsidy), which forms an integral part of our hospitals’ service, a registered charity recognised by the Governance Code with independently audited accounts filed with the Charities Regulator and the CRO.
Today, Blood Bikes East comprises nearly 150 volunteers, 7 motorbikes, 4 cars (for bulky deliveries or extreme weather conditions) so we are there for our client hospitals whenever and wherever they need us.
Mike Carty of Blood Bike West
Done Deal Cheque Hand-Over Event
Pat McCabe (Right) Hands Over to Paddy Crawford (Left)
BBE Launch at Mansion House with Lord Mayor Naoise O'Muiri
BBE Launch at Mansion House with PJ Gallagher