In this series of articles we look at who is involved in BBE, why they joined and what they do.
Blood Bikes East is managed and serviced entirely by volunteers. Every person has their own life to lead, yet finds the time to help their community in this very important way and in so doing helps to save lives, both directly and indirectly.
This time we talked to our second serving couple, Mark Quinn & Moira Donohoe. They are both relatively new into BBE, but have become integral to our operations since then:
Q1: Hi Mark and Moira. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Firstly, what do you both do for a living?
Mark: I run D15 Motorcycles in Blanchardstown. It’s a small but growing motorcycle sales and service centre in the Ballycoolin area in Primeside Business Park.
Moira: I am a Special Needs Assistant in a Primary School with 2 classes for children with Autism.
Q2: What do you do for BBE?
Moira: I am a controller, taking calls from hospitals and coordinating the riders. I have also applied to become a rider, but just waiting for Garda clearance on that role.
Mark: I’m a rider at the moment, but would like to get more involved as time goes on.
Q3: When did you join BBE?
Moira: It was sometime in November 2016.
Mark: Yes I also finally joined in November 2016. I’d been thinking about it for a long time and putting it off due to other commitments. But we both talked about it and joined pretty much at the same time.
Q4: What prompted you to join BBE?
Moira: Well I actually attended the first meeting back when BBE was being established in 2012/13. I was always interested in the idea of it, but I was relatively new to biking then and was also involved in a charity run, which took up a lot of my time. I had often seen the Blood Bike at RCNU where my father-in-law was a resident and was always aware of the work and commitment the volunteers took upon themselves. I met Martin Carragher while he was waiting to link up with NEBR one day and stopped to chat, he encouraged me to join. After that, Mark was on FB and saw the appeal for volunteers, so we applied via Facebook there and then!!
Mark: Yes, I was friendly with some of the gang who set up BBW and thought it was something I would love to do. As Moira said, we went along to the first meeting then of BBE in 2012 but at that time we were Involved in another motorcycle charity and didn’t have the time for both. So when the other charity finished up we decided to look at BBE again and then saw the advert calling for new recruits.
Q5: And how did you both ended up joining BBE?
Moira: Well, Mark’s dad was a long-term resident in RCNU and we were very aware of the service provided by BBE and other BB groups that help out residents/patients like Brendan and their families. We wanted to be part of the service providers and give something back. We both love motorbikes and both had a good reason to get involved, so it just made sense.
Mark: Yes, that’s true, but also, we had been on the team for Annual Across Ireland together and we didn’t kill each other so we went for BBE together. LOL
Q6: What is your most memorable moment while on shift so far?
Mark: I was fundraising on O’Connell Street and an elderly gentleman walked up. I thought he was going to put a few coins in and walk off, but instead he stopped and explained that he was just out of hospital after being in a bad crash. While in their he was told that his charts and x-rays had been sent by Blood Bike. He thanked me for our work and then gave a generous donation. It was a wonderful moment.
Moira: Being on Controller duty means you get to hear a lot of the stories behind the calls, so there are a few to be honest. But one that really struck home was a recent one, which was a call from the Laura Lynn House. The parents of a child came from Cavan to spend a couple of nights with him. They had forgotten his Chemo medication and would have had to drive back to Cavan to get it, which would have meant one of them missing very precious minutes with him. The administrator from Laura Lynn House rang us and we sorted it by meeting our colleagues from North East Blood Runners and one of our riders linked up and delivered it. I know the rider was very moved by this particular call-out too. It’s really special when we get to help families directly.
Q7: What does being a BBE volunteer mean to you?
Mark: My Father was a patient in RCNU for a number of years. After seeing the care he received from the staff, and knowing that BBE made many calls to RCNU, it is nice to give something back.
Moira: I agree with Mark. For me it really means I can help those less fortunate and more vulnerable than I am, while also promoting the good in the biking community.
Q8: How long have you been bikers?
Moira: I got my first bike in 2012. It was my learner bike.
Mark: I got my first bike at 20 and kept it until marriage and kids came along. Like so many people, the biking stopped then and so the bike had to go. But with the kids grown up, I went back to biking in 2007 and haven’t looked back since.
Q9: What was your first motor bike?
Mark: I feel like I’ve had 2 first bikes. At 20 it was a CB125 and then when I returned to bikes in 2007 I had a Bandit 600.
Moira: My first bike was a 1992 Honda Bros 400 and I shed a tear when I sold “Betsy Bros” to trade up to a Kawasaki ZR7 after passing my test in November 2012.
Q10: What bike do you own now?
Moira: I now own “Daffodil” a Honda VFR800fi, a pure sweetheart. Having started riding VFR’s in 2013, just love them.
Mark: I now ride a Yamaha FJR1300. I have NOT given my bike a name 😉
Q11: If you could buy any bike today, what would it be?
Mark: Ooooh, in my line of work, I get to see many, many bikes, but for me it would be a 2017 FJR or a GTR1400.
Moira: There are a few, but I would love a green Kawasaki ZZR1400 for fun and maybe a red Honda CBF1000 for touring and keep my “Daffodil” too! lol
Q12: When you’re not on shift and riding for pleasure, what’s your favourite road/route?
Moira: Well, for me it’s Ashbourne to Garristown to Naul to Drogheda to Termonfeckin. Lots of twisties and breath-taking views.
Mark: I love the road from Kells to Slane to Drogheda. But any road we’re riding together works for me too. (Ed. Oh Mark you romantic you!)
Q13: Finally Moira, are people surprised when you get off the bike and they see that you are a lady biker?
Yes, I still let out a little chuckle when people say “it’s a girl”, or often when I’m out with my Lady Bikers in Ireland group and people stop and stare at a bunch of girls on bikes, some of them rather big and sporty bikes too, FJR’s, CBF’s (1000), Fireblades, a bright orange Triumph Rocket 3 2,300cc!!
Thanks to you both for answering our questions. Thanks also for your long service and dedication to BBE.