A terminally ill zookeeper named Mario got an emotional farewell from a group of giraffes he looked after for 25 years.
Mario was a maintenance worker at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in the Netherlands until he was diagnosed with cancer.
While in the final stages of his battle with a brain tumor, he asked hospital workers if he could be wheeled into the zoo’s giraffe enclosure one last time. He wanted a chance to say goodbye to the animals he loved so dearly.
The 54-year-old man’s final visit to the Dutch zoo was organized by the Ambulance Wish Foundation, a volunteer-run organization that fulfills the last wishes of terminally ill patients.
“These animals recognised him, and felt that [things aren’t] going well with him,” Kees Veldboer, founder and director of the Ambulance Wish Foundation, told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. “It was a very special moment, you could see him beaming.”
Our love and prayers go out to Mario as he lives out the last days of his life.