A few months ago, Yisrael Tayri, head of the Ambulance Division, received a call from an Ezer Mizion volunteer at a Jerusalem hospital. She had a special request: A young woman with cancer wants to get to the sea, and in her situation, there is no way of getting there without an ambulance, including medical equipment in case of emergency, and a medical staff accompanying the ride. “The time schedule at the Division is set each day for the next day. All of my ambulances were already taken. I told her to talk to me the next day. But the answer I got led me to understand that, in this case, there’s no guaranteeing that there would be a ‘next day’…

Giving on Wheels

So I got to work finding a solution.  For two hours I tried to juggle the time schedule so that it wouldn’t inconvenience the others, but would free up an ambulance for the girl in question.”

Ezer Mizion volunteers in Jerusalem and friends of the girl decorated the ambulance with a red carpet and colorful balloons and left the hospital with the girl, medical staff, and the girl’s family. When they got to the beach, they found more relatives there, who had come especially to make her happy, and also — yes — to say goodbye. The sick girl spent an entire thrilling afternoon at the sea, on the beach and in the water, surrounded by people who love her.

Read more: Wheels That Make Their World Go ‘Round

“She told me that she returned to the hospital so happy,” Tayri shares. “And the next day, at nine in the morning, they called to tell me that she was gone…”

Yigal is an Israeli entertainer. Let’s make that past tense. He was an Israeli entertainer before he was afflicted with the disease that did not allow him to walk even a few steps and  transfer from bed to wheelchair was done with a lift. Life, as he knew it was over and Yigal was slowly crawling into a deep, black, black hole to await the end. After a year and a half, his natural positivity rallied and he began to crawl out from under. It was not long before he was filming again and his first film was about himself. His story and that there is ‘life after emotional death’. But filming is complex and cannot be done from a ‘black hole’. How did he get from his home to the studio? “I couldn’t have done it without Ezer Mizion,” he says.

At Ezer Mizion’s Ambulance Division, skilled drivers with an EMT certificate, work around the clock. 21 ambulances do about 4,000 trips a month. All of the vehicles are equipped with vital medical and mobility equipment, and the drivers assist with a smile, an attitude of respect and lots of energy – not only driving the passenger to their destination, but also helping them get from the house to the ambulance and back. The goal? How can we make the patient feel valued? How can we add some cheer to his day? Transport by Ezer Mizion’s ambulance network ensures more than a safe ride; it provides a pleasant and unique experience that often serves as a ray of light in the midst of a complex period of struggle.