High performance medicine and humanity
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hiddemann founded lebensmut e.V. in 1999 to provide psychological support to patients with cancer and their relatives
© lebensmut e.V.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hiddemann, Founder and chairman of lebensmut e.V., Elke Reichart, Assessor on the board, Ilona Ramstetter, 2. Chairperson, Dr. Ralf Sambeth, Treasurer (v.l.n.r.)
In Germany, five million people live with cancer. Affected are far more: partners, children, parents and friends. A cancer diagnosis not only affects the patient, but anyone who is close to him. The Lebensmut – Life with Cancer e.V. supports those affected in coping with the disease. The association offers psycho-oncological care at the hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich on the Großhadern campus and at the clinic in the city center. The goal is that all cancer patients and relatives who need help can be cared for individually.
Indispensable basis for the work of the Lebensmut e.V. is the close connection with the high-performance medicine – thus with highly qualified doctors, nurses and other specialists who use their knowledge for the well-being of the patients and conscious of the possibilities and limits of modern medicine. This goal has been pursued since its founding in 1999. With the family consultation hour, a special offer was added in 2008 – as one of the first facilities of its kind in Germany. Since then, demand has increased significantly, and in autumn 2018 another important step is planned: the opening of a second location of the family consultation at the clinic in the city center. This extension is made possible by the support of Sternstunden e.V. and also the Regine Sixt Children’s Aid Foundation, which, with its funding, enables the start of the “FreiRaum” offer especially for young people. At the inner-city hospital at Pettenkoferstraße, parents with cancer and their children will be supported by Claudia Mück, psychologist, systemic child and adolescent therapist (head), Ines Potyka, social pedagogue and child and adolescent psychotherapist and Caroline Lemberger, pedagogue MA and child and adolescent psychotherapist (iA).
© lebensmut e.V.
Graduate psychologist Claudia Mück heads the family consultationof the lebensmut e. V. in Großhadern
© lebensmut e.V.
“Cancer affects the whole family. Although the disease is in the foreground, the concern for the children weighs heavily.“
(v.l.n.r.) Claudia Mück, Caroline Lemberger, Ines Potyka supervise the family consultation hour
Another project is being launched. The psycho-oncological support in old age – called KIA (cancer in old age). Above all, cancer is a disease of old age. Nevertheless, there are hardly any offers for elderly people in Germany that are tailored to the specific needs of this age group. Added to the burdens of cancer are the omission of the everyday structure with the end of employment, the financial changes in the pension, the risk of poverty in old age and the risk of so-called cancer poverty, a financial distress caused by the cancer. With this new project, three measures are to be established: a psycho-social counseling center, a seminar series with five psycho-social / psycho-oncological topics and a KIA meeting for affected people who turn to the counseling center.
Prof. Hiddemann has dedicated his entire career to hematology and oncology. Until half a year ago he was director of the Medical Clinic III in Munich. “I have the most beautiful job in the world. It is the physician’s foremost task to accompany the patient through his illness and to give him courage. This creates profound conversations about the meaning of life that I do not want to miss”, explains Hiddemann. In 1974 he began his career as a doctor. “Since then a lot has changed. Our current treatment options are much larger and we can help much better today”, says the accredited oncologist. With sensitive communication, you can take away the patient’s fears of the disease, so his motto. This includes the qualified information for those affected: On 22 September 2018, the traditional Cancer Information Day for patients, relatives and interested parties will take place in Großhadern, where experts will report on the current possibilities of cancer treatment and will be available to answer any questions. The cancer information day of lebensmut e.V., will be organized by the Bavarian Cancer Society e.V., the Medical Clinic and Polyclinic III in cooperation with the Comprehensive Cancer Center CCC Munich.
Since December 2017 Hiddemann is no longer director of the Medical Clinic III. “I will focus on my hobbies now: leukemia and lymphoma and, of course, the lebensmut e.V.”, says the dedicated doctor and scientist. He does not know the word retirement.