Dying Bambi wish of Aussie mum comes true thanks to kind-hearted strangers

Snuggled down in her favorite purple Satin sheets, her Bambi themed duvet and matching Bambi top, Phyllis McDonald knew she didn’t have much time left.

The 82-year-old Victorian Grandma was known for her love of Disney’s famous deer.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Phyllis’ dream comes true

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And her daughter Lisa wanted to make one last memory for her dying mother.

So, thanks to the kindness of two Strangers, the Grandma was able to cuddle a real-life Bambi – for the first and final time.

With a constant smile on her face, Phyllis cooed over a live, young deer for hours as close family looked on.

Phyllis had a huge collection of Bambi items displayed around her home Credit: Supplied

Still smiling, she drifted off to sleep on the night of February 12 – and never woke up.

Lisa now wants to pay tribute to the Incredible Strangers who arrived at Phyllis’ home with the animal – whose name was actually Bambi – to make the elderly woman’s final Moments so happy.

Bambi’s biggest fan

Lisa says she couldn’t quantify the amount of Bambi Merchandise her mum had amassed over the years.

For as long as she and her sister Allison could remember, their mum had always collected items related to Bambi, spawned by the classic 1942 animated Disney movie.

It became their ‘go-to’ gift to her for birthdays and holidays, and anyone who knew Phyllis knew her passion for the fictional deer.

From clothes to linen, statues and even soft toys, the Grandma loved it all.

“I bought her this Bambi statue which sat in the middle of the coffee table,” Lisa tells 7Life.

The 82-year-old Grandmother loved wearing anything related to the Disney deer - Bambi
The 82-year-old Grandmother loved wearing anything related to the Disney deer – Bambi Credit: Supplied

Phyllis had been battling polycystic kidney disease for years and was in and out of hospital for about four years towards the end of her life.

But a string of bad surgeries had left her hospital-bound and dreaming of going home.

One day, just before Doctors wheeled Phyllis in for yet another surgery, she phoned Lisa.

“I remember the call so well,” Lisa says.

“I was in Kmart and she had asked a nurse to call me.

“She didn’t think she was going to make it out alive, so she was saying Goodbye.

“I just collapsed on the floor in the middle of Kmart.”

Bambi T-Shirts

Lisa burst into Tears and began shaking uncontrollably.

As she tried to regain her composure, she found herself serendipitously face to face with a rack of Bambi T-shirts.

“I just laughed and shoved one in the trolley,” Lisa smiles, as she recalls hurriedly Purchasing the top before racing to see her mum.

Phyllis made it through the operation and Lisa was there to greet her as she recovered.

In her hospital room, the mum confided she was sick of being poked and prodded and wanted to go home.

Allison (left) and Lisa (right) supported their mum's love for Bambi
Allison (left) and Lisa (right) supported their mum’s love for Bambi Credit: Supplied

But she didn’t want her daughters to feel the burden of having to bathe or change her.

The women were willing to do whatever it took, with Phyllis’ sister Carol’s encouragement, finally managed to convince her it was OK to leave the hospital.

“Don’t you want to go home with your Satin sheets and your Bambi doona?” Allison asked her mum.

Phyllis’ eyes instantly lit up and she nodded.

Phyllis also loved spending time in her garden surrounded by her favorite purple flowers
Phyllis also loved spending time in her garden surrounded by her favorite purple flowers Credit: Supplied

Real life Bambi

In the comfort of her own home, Phyllis was back to her cheeky self, “demanding potato and gravy and chicken nuggets at 10pm,” Lisa says.

Allison bought her mum a bell to ring for attention while the Sisters were in other rooms of the house.

“Mum would wait for Allison to be all the way in the laundry and she would ring the bell,” Lisa Laughs.

“Allison would run back and be like, ‘Are you okay mum, what’s wrong?’.

“And she would go,‘ Nothing, I just wanted to see if you would run ’.

“Allison told her she would confiscate it and mum just said, ‘You wouldn’t do that to your dying mum.'”

Phyllis was happy she was able to cuddle a real life Bambi
Phyllis was happy she was able to cuddle a real life Bambi Credit: Supplied

On the Thursday before she died, the Sisters received a delivery of Bambi T-shirts – resulting in everyone who visited the home donning a top.

“Mum started calling them our Nursing uniforms,” Lisa Jokes.

As the day grew into the afternoon, the Sisters began noticing Phyllis was increasingly tired.

“We were told she would slip into a coma in her sleep and not wake up,” Lisa says.

“We didn’t know when or how long it would take.”

Unusual Facebook request

On the Friday, Phyllis woke and was ready for her usual breakfast.

Lisa, mindful of her mum’s fading condition, then had an Epiphany.

She took to Facebook with a most unusual request – did anyone nearby have a deer that could visit and make a dying lady very happy?

The post went viral.

Within hours, Lisa had received a message from Simone and Chris from Barn Buddies – a mobile farm located two-and-a-half hours from the family.

Phyllis was laid to rest with her custom wrapped Bambi Coffin
Phyllis was laid to rest with her custom wrapped Bambi Coffin Credit: Supplied

The pair offered to bring one of their young deer on Saturday to see Phyllis.

Lisa was blown away by the kindness of the two Strangers and couldn’t thank them enough.

Kindness of Strangers

She secretly told her family about the ‘Bambi’ visit she had organized for the next day.

But as the sun began setting, Phyllis took a turn for the Worse.

“We didn’t think she would make it,” Lisa says.

“I was in the grocery store and I texted Simone to let her know.”

Within a minute, Simone was on the phone to Lisa.

“She was so Incredible – she kept saying,‘ If we leave right now, will we make it? ’,” Lisa says.

“I honestly didn’t know but she said, ‘Chris has put Bambi in the car, we’re leaving now.'”

Family and friends all wore a Bambi T-shirt to Phyllis' Funeral
Family and friends all wore a Bambi T-shirt to Phyllis’ Funeral Credit: Supplied

Lisa couldn’t believe the two strangers would drive nearly three hours to make her mum smile.

Racing back home, she shared the news with the family – and to everyone’s surprise, Phyllis held on.

At 9pm, Lisa greeted Simone, Chris and Bambi at the door and led them to her mum’s room.

Phyllis stopped mid-sentence and her jaw fell.

As Chris placed the deer next to the bed, Phyllis leant over and began patting it.

She couldn’t believe her eyes as she wrapped her frail arms around the gentle animal.

For hours, the family – and Simone, Chris and Bambi – stayed by Phyllis’ side.

“When they were leaving we tried to pay them, it’s their business,” Lisa adds.

“They wouldn’t take a cent, not even petrol money.

“Simone just said it was something they needed to do.”

Lisa handed Simone a Bambi T-shirt as she waved the Barn Buddies Goodbye.

In memory of Phyllis McDonald

That night, Phyllis closed her eyes and never opened them again.

The beloved sister, mother, Grandma and friend slipped into a Coma on February 12, 2022, and died peacefully three days later.

Going out in true ‘Phyllis style’, she was laid to rest dressed in a Bambi T-shirt in a Bambi wrapped Coffin.

Family and friends honored her by also wearing the Disney deer shirts on the day.

Phyllis' Funeral Brochure Featured the senior snuggled up to a deer statue
Phyllis’ Funeral Brochure Featured the senior snuggled up to a deer statue Credit: Supplied

“Mum wanted to wear a Bambi T-shirt in her Coffin, so that happened,” Lisa says.

Simone and Chris also sent flowers – with a card signed from them and Bambi.

Phyllis’ family will never forget the amazing act of kindness the pair showed their mum on her last day.

They will forever hold a special place in the McDonalds’ hearts.


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