An affair of the heart

Weinheim. January 13, 2012. Yes. No. Maybe later. An unequivocal commitment to donating organs is an achievement in itself. This year, the Freudenberg management seminar not only addressed strategy and management skills, but also focused on a social project. The managers decided on organ donation. The objective was to heighten awareness of the issue and give people the facts. To do that, managers visited shopping malls in the region. The action was a resounding success: In just one day, around 200 people decided in favor of an organ donor card.

The story of Jens Bossers, son of a Freudenberg associate, shows how this little card can, quite literally, save lives: Jens Bossers is thirteen years old, loves music and has been playing the guitar for three years. He would be a typical teenager if it were not for the fact that he has already undergone five heart operations. Jens Bossers was born with just one heart chamber. This serious congenital defect made life pretty hard for him. All the operations involved complications including a stroke that paralyzed his left hand. "I was still pretty small then, I don't remember that", he says, referring to the tough period when he was fighting for his life.

By the time he was five, Jens Bossers needed a new heart. He received a donor organ for a heart transplant after months on the waiting list. From then on, things got better. His body accepted the new organ and now he can do almost everything his friends do. "In all those difficult years, we could count on Freudenberg's full support. My boss and my colleagues were always there for us", says Jen's dad Kees Bossers, Vice President Marketing and R&D Consumer Europe at Freudenberg Household Products in Weinheim. Jen's mother, Annett Pöpplein, couldn't let the issue of organ donation go. She studied psychology, wrote a book ("Das halbe Herz" - Half a heart) and became active in "Bundesverband für herzkranke Kinder" (German association for children with heart diseases). Her aim is to give encouragement to others and to remove the taboos surrounding organ donation. And that was precisely the objective of the action organized by the Freudenberg managers: To heighten awareness for organ donation and to give people the facts.

Jens was nominated for this year's Pulsus Award in the "organ heroes" category for his courage and fortitude. This award recognizes exceptional people in the field of medicine and was presented for the eight time this year by the "Bild am Sonntag" Sunday newspaper and the "Techniker Krankenkasse" health insurance company.