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Ambulance Wish Foundation: checking off final items of the dying bucketlists

Trends by Stefanie Schillmöller and her research in Good Grief

Last month an old man in our neighbourhood, who is unfortunately terminally ill, got a special gift: his last wish to make one last round through his beloved village and see all the places that he used to come by on his daily walks. People got asked to wave to him if possible. What a heartwarming idea for a last goodbye.

These wishes are made possible by the Ambulance Wish Foundation, a Dutch charity which uses their medical transportation to help immobile seniors or hospice patient check off one final item from their bucketlist.

With a team of 270 medically-trained volunteers, the organization facilitates 5 or 6 trips for dying seniors every day. Since the charity launched in 2007, the team has fulfilled over 7,000 hospital patient wishes. Patients often choose free trips to visit a casino, aquarium, zoo, farm, or beach. Some choose to visit loved ones or renew their vows at a church.

Though the foundation is based out of the Netherlands, the idea is so good, it has spread to other countries, including Germany, Israel, Brazil, England, Japan, and Ecuador.

“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,” founder and director Kees Veldboer told NBC News. “Our foundation adds a quality of life to last days.”

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