Ambulance charity fulfills wishes of terminally ill patients

The Ambulance Wish Foundation, with six ambulances and 230 medically trained volunteers, has granted nearly 6,000 wishes since 2007

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — The Ambulance Wish Foundation (Stichting Ambulance Wens), a Netherlands charity, helps terminally ill patient's fulfill a wish.

The foundation has granted nearly 6,000 wishes since its founding in 2007, reported NBC News

Recently the foundation brought a terminally ill woman to see Rembrandt's paintings, transporting her in an ambulance cot to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum for the in-demand exhibit. The 78-year-old woman suffers from ALS.

"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 in an email.

Veldboer got the idea for the foundation while driving the ambulance to move a patient from one hospital to another. He asked the man if there was anything he wanted to see while he was outside. The man told Veldboer he had sailed for many years when he was healthy, so Veldboer stopped by 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," Veldboer said.

Veldboer promised to take the man sailing a final time. Working with a tour boat company and his boss, Veldboer was able to bring the patient on a stretcher aboard, for one last trip through the Rotterdam harbor.

The foundation began in April 2007 and now has six ambulances and 230 medically trained volunteers.

"Our foundation adds a quality of life to (last) days," Veldboer said.

Many of the patients and their wishes are chronicled on the foundation's Facebook page.

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