Paramedics grant dying man's wishes

Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
Cancer patient Lindsay Best with paramedics Jane Borrell and Les McKay, who gave him and his mother a day out.
HELPING OUT: Cancer patient Lindsay Best with paramedics Jane Borrell and Les McKay, who gave him and his mother a day out.

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It started with stomach pains and ended with a dying man's dreams becoming reality.

Lindsay Best, 53, had a smile from ear to ear as he and his mother, Frances, were chauffeur-driven around the capital by Wellington Free Ambulance staff, ticking off locations from his "bucket list" yesterday.

The pair visited Zealandia and the Weta Cave after paramedics Les McKay and Jane Borrell decided to make the dying man's wishes come true.

Mr Best, an administration assistant at law firm Buddle Findlay, was diagnosed with terminal bowel and liver cancer in August and told he had only two months to live. He had gone to the doctor with what he thought was flu.

Last week, as he was driven to Wellington Hospital with stomach pains, he got chatting in the ambulance to Mr McKay, who asked him: "Have you got a bucket list?"

Mr Best said he had three places he wanted to visit before he died: the Milford Track, Weta and Zealandia.

The Milford Track was out of the question, but the ambulance crew arranged visits to the other two yesterday, taking an ambulance out of service for part of the day.

"He hasn't got a lot of time left on the planet," Mr McKay said. "He only had a short bucket list and it wasn't a very hard one [to organise], so we just made it happen."

Mrs Best said she was blown away by what the ambulance service had done for her son. "It's absolutely wonderful; we can't believe it."

Mr Best said he could not thank the organisers enough.

Mr McKay said he was just six days older than Mr Best, which made him realise how vulnerable he was.

"I guess every day you wake up you're in front. You never know what's around the corner. It's nice to give a bit back, I suppose."

Wellington Free Ambulance operations team manager Helen Berry said extra staff were rostered yesterday, which allowed the ambulance to be released for a few hours.

Although Mr Best is unlikely to walk the Milford Track, Ms Borrell said she planned to walk it in aid of a cancer charity.

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- The Dominion Post

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