Dutch Organization Helps Dying Patients Live Out Their Final Wishes
It’s like Make-A-Wish but for adults. Thanks to the efforts of a former ambulance driver, 7,000 adults nearing the end of their lives have been given the chance to live out their final days in a happy way.
Kees Veldboer, who was once an ambulance driver, created Stichting Ambulance Wens (Ambulance Wish Foundation) in 2006 after an emotional meeting with a terminally-ill man he brought to the hospital.
According to Upworthy, “During the trip from one hospital to the other, the patient told Veldboer that he wanted to see the Vlaadingen Canal one last time. He wanted to sit in the sun and wind and smell the water again before going back inside.”
According to NBC , the patient used to sail for many years in his healthier days. So, Veldboer took the dying patient to the canal. “We stayed there for an hour on a beautiful sunny day, and tears of joy ran over his face due to this experience,” he recalled. This experience inspired Veldboer to find a way to do this for more people.
Since the non-profit organization was founded in 2006, there have been around 7,000 wishes granted. The organization has also acquired a crew of 230 medically-trained volunteers, a fleet of six specially-outfitted ambulances and even has satellite locations in the US and UK .
Among the wishes that have been fulfilled included a terminally-ill woman with ALS who wanted to see a painting by Rembrandt in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, and a former Rotterdam Zoo maintenance man suffering from a terminal brain cancer who wanted to share his final moments with the giraffes he cared for.
Interviewed by BBC, Veldboer said, “I’m just a very ordinary Dutch guy who does what he likes best, and my hobby is helping others.”
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