For more than 90 years, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has supported the health care needs of rural and remote communities located right across Australia. From its roots as an aeromedical organisation providing emergency services across the Outback, RFDS has always been dedicated to lessening the barrier of distance associated with accessing quality health care in the most remote corners of our country.

Today, this not-for-profit organisation has evolved to become an innovative advocate for rural health outcomes, connecting communities with primary health care services and mental health programs.

Here in Victoria, we work in partnership with a number of community health organisations across the state to improve the health and wellbeing of our rural communities. We believe in creating opportunities so that all Victorians have the choice to access essential health care services.

Ambulance Wish Foundation

Flying Doctor Memory Lane is a member of the global Ambulance Wish Foundation (AWF) community. Born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the original Stichting Ambulance Wens was founded by Dutch paramedic Kees Veldboer in 2007.

When a routine patient transfer was delayed, Kees decided to ask the patient, Mario, if there was anywhere he would like to go while they waited. Mario was a retired seaman, and said he would like to visit the Vlaardingen Cana once again. When they reached the docks, Kees asked Mario if he would like to head out onto the waters one last time. Mario thought this would be impossible, given he was on a stretcher, but Kees found a way to make this last wish a reality.

Following this experience, Kees realised the importance of such journeys for people in palliative care, not only for themselves, but for their families and loved ones as well. From this realisation, Stichting Ambulance Wens (or Ambulance Wish Foundation) was born.

Numerous independent but connected organisations have since launched around the world. Flying Doctor Memory Lane is the latest iteration of this service, and is devoted to ensuring all Victorians can achieve moments of peace, comfort and dignity in their final days.

Our Mission

The inspiration to launch Flying Doctor Memory Lane came when RFDS Victoria Chief Executive, Scott Chapman, travelled to the USA to set up a fundraising arm of RFDS. Late one night, while searching for something to watch on the local television networks, Scott stumbled across a show profiling Stichting Ambulance Wens.

Incredibly moved by Kees’s story, Scott realised that this was a service he desperately wanted to bring to Victoria. He also felt very strongly that the Flying Doctor was the right organisation to carry on Kees’s philanthropic mission.

“Yes, we save lives. Yes, we provide fantastic health services. Yes, we try and overcome the barriers of accessing good health services. But we also do it with compassion,” says Scott. “We’re all about better health, better lives, but what about better end of life as well?”

With highly trained staff, medically-equipped vehicles and unmatched expertise in transporting people, RFDS Victoria is well placed to help our most vulnerable take a trip down memory lane. We have also proven through our critical and primary health services that we will go above and beyond for those in need.

Your Memory Lane journey

Exceptional health care is more than treating physical ailments; it also needs to respect mental wellbeing and a person’s social and emotional needs. For people with a terminal illness or in palliative care, a simple chance to reconnect with their lives in their final days is incredibly meaningful.

Flying Doctor Memory Lane is designed to specifically address these needs, and to enable extraordinary moments for people in end of life care. These moments are intended not only to bring joy to the individual, but to also ensure beautiful memories for their family and friends.

When you contact our team of dedicated volunteers to arrange a Memory Lane journey, we will take care of every detail. Transports can be arranged at short notice, all staffed by medically trained members of our RFDS team, ensuring everyone who uses the Memory Lane service can rest assured they will receive the finest care throughout their journey.

If you wish to use our service, or for more information on our eligibility criteria, please refer to the ‘Book a journey’ tab.

Book a journey

Support us

Flying Doctor Memory Lane is entirely donor-funded, and therefore relies exclusively on volunteers and generous donations to stay in operation. If you would like to donate to Memory Lane, please click here. Alternatively, if you are an organisation and would like to partner with us, please email memorylane@rfdsvic.com.au

Support us