The skydiving rebbetzin of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue was applauded by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis this week after raising enough money for a special ‘bucket list’ ambulance to help the terminally ill fulfil their last wish.
Freda Kaplan, a grandmother, jumped out of a plane over Bury St. Edmonds last year to raise money for the Wish Ambulance, after tracking down the country’s only female diving instructor.
The idea of bringing a wish ambulance – which originated in The Netherlands – over to the UK came after Kaplan’s own terminally ill father was taken to his grandson’s wedding just four days before he passed away by a Wish Ambulance in Israel.
Together with London-based GP Judith Tobin, the pair set about trying to raise £100,000 for the vehicle, which is specially designed to take those who are stretcher-bound to life events.
At a ceremony on Sunday, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis praised the pair for raising enough money for the ambulance, which us for The Ambulance Wish Foundation UK, and which will be used by North London Hospice.
Kaplan and Tobin said they were donating it “from the UK Jewish community to anyone requiring its services, regardless of faith, creed, gender, colour or culture”.
Final wishes can be simple, such as a last visit home, or to a place of personal significance, they said. “It is usually the little things that mean the most to a person nearing the end of their life, but thanks to the Wish Ambulance are no longer impossible.”