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“A cordial welcome” - DKFZ staff donate for refugees

No. 47a | 29/10/2015 | by Sel

More than 950 bags filled with urgently needed in-kind gifts for children and adults, along with five moving boxes filled with sneakers: The staff of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) very generously supported a donation initiative for refugees. On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, the donations were handed over to the charity “Diakonisches Werk” at its counseling center in Heidelberg’s Patrick-Henry Village refugee shelter.

Christian Heinze (second from left) and Karolin Handschuh (left) receive the bags donated by DKFZ staff for refugees at Patrick Henry Village. Also in the picture: Members of DKFZ Asylkreis.

People donated drawing pads and colored pencils, coloring books and crayons, tea, coffee and candy, dictionaries and illustrated books, and many more. This donation initiative had been launched by a spontaneously founded group called “DKFZ Asylkreis” whose members wanted to make a clear statement against xenophobia. “We are an international research center with people from more than 50 countries. Therefore, we wanted to explicitly say ‘welcome’ to the people in the refugee accommodations,” said Josephine Bageritz of DKFZ Asylkreis. Christian Breunig, who established the contact with Patrick Henry Village, said: "I wanted to get involved in refugee aid in Heidelberg and so I contacted Mr. Heinze from Diakonisches Werk Heidelberg. He sent us a list of things that are needed.” Breunig is a young scientist who – like most of the other Asylkreis members –currently works as a PostDoc at the DKFZ.

On Wednesday, the donations were handed over to the charity at Patrick Henry Village. The bags, packed in 150 moving boxes, were transported to PHV by truck and received by Christian Heinze and his colleagues. “When I first heard the number, 150 moving boxes, I was surprised and delighted but somewhat shocked at the same time, because we have very little space here,” Heinze said. Helpers from DKFZ and Diakonie made a human chain to carry the boxes into the counseling rooms and piled them along the walls. One room has been completely filled up with boxes. Heinze is very pleased about this: “We have an enormous demand, with currently 4,000 people accommodated here and high fluctuation.”

Diakonie staff will issue the contents from the bags to refugees at individual counseling sessions and at activities offered by volunteers such as sports and German language classes. Heinze was moved when he thanked all DKFZ employees on behalf of the two charity organizations Diakonisches Werk and Caritas Association, which are collaborating closely at PHV. “We experience a high readiness to donate in Heidelberg, not only from individuals but also from companies. But a donation of this dimension is unprecedented, this is really outstanding and new – and we are incredibly pleased about it!”

A picture for this press release is available at:

Caption: Christian Heinze (second from left) and Karolin Handschuh (left) receive the bags donated by DKFZ staff for refugees at Patrick Henry Village. Also in the picture: Members of DKFZ Asylkreis.

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Cancer Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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