It all started when in November 2006 when Kees Veldboer, an ambulance driver, was moving a terminally ill patient, Mario Stefanutto, from one hospital to another. The retired seaman desperately wanted to be by the water once more. To his surprise, Veldboer obliged.
“Tears of joy ran over his face,” Veldboer told the BBC. “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.”
And so Stichting Ambulance Wens — or Ambulance Wish Foundation — was born: a charity that grants terminally ill patients their final wishes.The charity has grown to 230 volunteers, six ambulances, and a holiday home, and has made an incredible 7,000 wishes a reality.
It helps four people a day on average — the only stipulation is that they are terminally ill and can’t be transported other than on a stretcher.