The Ambulance Wish Foundation;
The people who make last wishes come true!
Imagine you’re lying in a hospital bed and you can’t leave the room. You think to yourself, “what if I could just be at home one last time?” But it’s difficult for your family to get you up out of bed. That’s where the Ambulance Wish Foundation gets called in.
According to BBC magazine news, their history started in November 2006. Kees Velboer was an ambulance driver who was moving a patient, Mario Stefanutto, from one hospital to another. But just after they put him on the stretcher, they were told there would be a delay – the receiving hospital wasn’t ready. Stefanutto had no desire to get back in the bed where he had spent the past three months, so Veldboer asked if there was anywhere he would like to go.
The retired seaman asked if they could take him to the Vlaardingen canal, so he could be by the water and say a final goodbye to Rotterdam harbour. It was a sunny day, and they stayed on the dockside for nearly an hour. “Tears of joy ran over his face,” says Veldboer. “When I asked him: ‘Would you like to have the opportunity to sail again?’ he said it would be impossible because he lay on a stretcher.”
Veldboer was determined to make this man’s last wish come true. He asked his boss if he could borrow an ambulance on his day off, recruited the help of a colleague and contacted a firm that does boat tours around Rotterdam harbour – they were all happy to help, and the following Friday, to Stefanutto’s astonishment, the ambulance driver turned up at his hospital bedside to take him sailing.
In a letter written weeks before his death Stefanutto wrote, “It does me good that there are still people who care about others… I can tell you from my own experience that a small gesture from someone else can have a huge impact.”