The mission of the Ambulance Wish Western Australia is to fulfil the wishes of terminally ill patients who are no longer mobile and unable to travel without medical intervention, equipment and support. Medically trained volunteers and adapted ambulances provide the means to make these last dreams come true.
During a patient’s final weeks or days, it is possible to bring them joy and comfort through visiting a familiar place that reignites precious memories. It is also possible to fulfil something special on their bucket list that can give them a sense of achievement and excitement. Finally, it is possible to gather a family and friends to create one last memory, one last celebration of their loved one.
It’s usually the little things that mean the most to a person nearing the end of their life, but these can seem impossible.
History of Ambulance Wish
On 26 February 2007 Stichting Ambulance Wens was established in the Netherlands as an addition to the care for immobile terminally ill patients. Too many patients die with unfilled wishes – one of the causes is the inability to realise certain wishes because the patient is no longer mobile. Therefore, their foundation was started to help people who are dependent on transport by ambulance.
For the founder of Stichting Ambulance Wens Kees Veldboer, while employed and working as an ambulance driver, one particular occurrence was the trigger for starting Stichting Ambulance Wens. In Rotterdam while driving the ambulance, Kees realised the last wish of the meanwhile deceased former sailor Mr Stefanutto. This patient very much wanted to sail on a ship one last time, and so they did. The documentary – Turning Point – describes how one person, determined to spread joy and make a difference, developed an organisation that fulfils the last wishes of the terminally ill and bedridden individuals. In a TV interview with Kees, he reveals his thoughts about fulfilling final wishes and dying.
The concept realised by Stichting Ambulance Wens – Ambulance Wish Foundation – has been introduced across the globe, including now Western Australia. Gary and Susie Wilson, both Registered Healthcare Professionals, following the death of a friend from a brain tumour, were inspired by the international story of Ambulance Wish and could see how a similar scheme could benefit Western Australian patients. After reaching out to Kees, they, with a group of friends, established Ambulance Wish Western Australia.
The Ambulance Wish concept has been adopted across the globe, with charities in the following countries:
Management committee and volunteers
Ambulance Wish Western Australia is managed and operated solely by volunteers.
With over 20 years in emergency care, Susie works both as a registered nurse and registered paramedic, currently employed as a Clinical Nurse in a busy emergency department in Perth, working privately as a paramedic and managing her own training company. Susie is a member of the Institute of Community Directors Australia.
With over 20 years pre-hospital care experience, Gary is a registered paramedic currently working in the Perth metropolitan area. A clinical educator with a Masters in Health Professional Education, he is also an experienced journalist, photographer and magazine editor. He is also a member of the Institute of Community Directors Australia.
Mandy is a Registered Nurse with over 30 years’ experience in nursing, project management and education, including developing and implementing health and education programs and solutions across diverse areas of health, including the UK ambulance service, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Phoenix Arizona.
Kim is a registered nurse currently working on a mental health ward at a busy hospital in Perth. Several years ago she cared for her husband until he died from a Glioblastoma Multiforme, and has personal experience of WA palliative care, both as a healthcare provider and family carer.
Sarah is one of the professional pastoral practitioners at a busy hospital in Perth, where she is an integral part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team, complementing and contributing to the overall person-centred care provided to patients, residents, their families and hospital staff.
Ambulance Wish Western Australia is completely dependent on corporate partnerships, donations and community fundraising to ensure its outcomes are achieved.
Prior to the official launch of Ambulance Wish Western Australia in 2020, the management committee is discussing with palliative care and health organisations how Ambulance Wish Western Australia can become a sustainable and continuing part of Western Australian’s healthcare.
Ambulance Wish Western Australia will shortly announce its corporate partnerships programme. If your organisation is interested in becoming a corporate partner, please contact us.
Who Supports Us
Jen & Tom Mellor
Ian & Gail Vanderplank
Jacqueline & Eugine Venter
James & Tepou Watene
Arnold & Celia Wilson
Susie & Gary Wilson