Surgical Tribune Europe

Charity run for organ donation to take place in Munich for first time

By Surgical Tribune
March 27, 2019

MUNICH, Germany: On March 27, 2019, the organ donor run ("Organspendelauf"), which the German Society of Surgery (DGCH) traditionally organises for its congress, will take place for the first time publicly in Munich. The charity run will take place over 2.5, 5 and 10 kilometres through the English Garden. The starting signal is given at 6 p.m. at the Chinese Tower. "We want to send a visible signal of how important it is to deal with the topic of organ donation," explained Prof. Matthias Anthuber, President of the German Society of Surgery (DGCH). Celebrities and politicians like Heike Drechsler, Stefan Kretzschmar and the Bavarian Minister of Health Melanie Huml support the race. On site, there will be further opportunities to find out about the possibilities of organ donation.

Every year, around 10,000 patients wait for a donor organ, and up to three people on the waiting lists die every day. "With the night run, we want to draw attention to the fates behind these figures," says surgeon president Anthuber, who is also the chief physician of the Clinic for General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery at Augsburg Hospital. "And we are very grateful that our route takes us through the English Garden, because it makes the public aware of our initiative. This will certainly be a very special event."

Interested runners are just as welcome as spectators, who want to inform themselves about the topic organ donation. "Even if the personal decision to donate an organ is negative, the possession of an organ donor card is still worth it", emphasised Anthuber. "This is because on your ID card, this decision against the donation of organs can still be indicated. In the case of an incident, clear conditions are thus ensured, which represents a great relief for the relatives," reported the transplant surgeon.

The starting and finishing point of the organ donation run is a Munich landmark: the Chinese Tower. Participants can walk or run over distances of 2.5, 5 or 10 kilometres. All runs will be held on a 2.5 km long circuit, which is completely car-free and suitable for wheelchair users. "The organ donor run thus offers an appropriate platform for all performance classes," said Anthuber.

Anyone from the age of four and up who is confident enough to complete the course in a reasonable time can take part. Registration is based on year of birth. Since the race takes place at dusk, lights will light up the paths. "We recommend that all participants also use headlamps for running," advised DGCH President Anthuber.

The starting fee for the charity run is €20. €8 of this will be donated to three charitable institutions: the Joachim Deckarm Fund for Deutsche Sporthilfe, Kinderhilfe Organtransplantation and the Ederhof Rehabilitation Centre. The latter two initiatives take care of seriously ill children before and after transplantation procedures.

Numerous celebrities will support the organ donation run. Olympic long-jump champion Heike Drechsler will take over the warm-up, while TV sports journalist Jörg Wontorra will moderate the event. Elmar Sprink and Chantal Bausch - an Ironman participant and hockey player, respectively, who have both had heart transplants - will be participating. Handball stars Stefan Kretzschmar, Christian "Blacky" Schwarzer, Daniel Stephan and Uli Roth will also all be on hand. The organ donation run takes place alternately in the cities of Berlin and Munich as part of the DGCH Congress, which is being held this year for the eighth time. The DGCH Congress will be held from 26 to 29 March 2019 at the ICM Munich.

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