Volunteer EMTs Grant Terminally Ill Patients Their Last Wish

No need to wish upon a star - for these terminal patients, their final requests are coming true thanks to these generous charity workers.

Mar 26, 2019

(DutchMen / Shutterstock.com)

Dutch charity Stichting Ambulance Wens, or The Ambulance Wish Foundation (in English), helps sick patients create a special memory and check off a bucket list item by transporting them to their desired location or activity with the help of medical transportation, free of charge.

The team of 270 medically-trained volunteers plans and carries out between five to six trips every single day for terminally ill patients. The charity, which launched in 2007,  has granted the wishes of over 12,000 individuals. 

Some patients long for one last adventure at a beach, farm, casino, aquarium, or a zoo, while others ask to see their family members or romantically renew their vows in church.

Although the special foundation has its roots in the Netherlands, other countries believed in the concept so much, they started their own in their home nations. Israel, Japan, England, Brazil, Ecuador, and Germany are a few countries who have started their own version. 

Founder and Director of the foundation, Kees Veldboer, told NBC News that it’s their mission to make people feel good during their last days and give them a special memory to hold onto until they pass away.

“The Ambulance Wish Foundation shows that people who are terminally ill and bed-ridden can have joy, even if they are sometimes so ill that they pass away on the same day or as in many cases a few days later,” Veldboer said. “Our foundation adds a quality of life to last days.”

Veldboer, a former ambulance driver, felt inspired to create the organization when he decided to grant the last wish of a former sailor. After learning the patient wanted to sail the seas one last time, the founder made it happen and felt the need to help others fulfill their bucket list items.

The foundation, which serves as a form of supplemental care for immobile, terminal patients, has made it possible for thousands of people from around the world to have their last wishes come true.

Update: a previous version of this article said the organization has helped over 7,000 patients fulfill their last wish since its inception. The actual number is over 12,000.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.