For one last time he wanted to visit the giraffes in Diergaarde Blijdorp: to say goodbye to the animals whose habitat he cleaned for years. The 54-year old Mario doesn’t have long to live, he has terminal cancer. For almost his entire life he was able to work at the zoo, despite his mental handicap. He isn’t able to say his goodbyes to the longnecks himself, therefore foundation Ambulance Wish reached out a helping hand.
On the moment when his hospital bed is wheeled into the habitat something beautiful happens. Not only does Mario want to say goodbye, but the animals sense that this is a final encounter. For one last time the terminally ill man gets a kiss from a giraffe. ‘A very special moment. You could see him totally light up,’ Kees Veldboer, founder and director of the foundation explains. ‘It’s very special to see that those animals recognise him, and sense that he isn’t doing well.’
After the goodbye with the giraffes, Mario got the oppertunity to say goodbye to his collegues. ‘It was very beautiful to be able to help this man fullfill his dying wish’ Veldboer concludes. Foundation Ambulance Wish and its 200 trained volunteers help immobile terminal patients get one last wonderful day.