Junge Helden e. V. educates students about organ donation
by Vivian, 10D4
Junge Helden e. V. visited grade 10 in Salem to inform and raise awareness about organ donation.

On Friday the 14th of June, grade 10 was visited by Junge Helden e.V., a non-profit organization that educates and raises awareness about organ donation.

Who are Junge Helden?

Junge Helden are a group of committed people, including Marie-Luise Beirer, Marius Schäfer and Prof. Dr. Dr. Kneidinger. Marius Schäfer has an impressive story: his parents each donated a part of their lungs to him. He is the only person in Germany to have received such a donation. Prof. Dr. Dr. Kneidinger from the University of Graz is the contact person for medical questions; he specializes in lungs and carries out transplants. He also treated Marie-Luise Beirer's father, who is now alive thanks to a new lung.

Junge Helden provides information on organ donation and say: "The most important thing is the decision.” They are open-minded — whether someone chooses to donate or not. For them, people must engage with the issue. The organization wants to reach young people in particular because organ donation is an important topic that needs to be talked about. But it concerns everyone.

Junge Helden wants as many people as possible to carry an organ donor card. You can choose to donate or not. And you can decide to donate only certain organs: This allows everyone to decide for themselves what they want to donate in the event of an accident. It is important to be aware of your responsibility and not to leave the decision to your relatives.

In Germany, the consent solution applies: you can only become an organ donor if you agree or if your relatives agree. As the people involved in the association are often affected themselves or are relatives of those affected, they are in favour of the opt-out solution. What does it mean? With the opt-out solution, people automatically become organ donors unless they actively object. This is the case in many other countries.

An interesting project of Junge Helden is the OptInk tattoo, which consists of two semicircles and a full circle. It shows outsiders that you are in favour of organ donation. The tattoo symbolizes the gift of life and is a conversation starter. It's a crucial decision - but many people don't know enough about it. Celebrities at parties also raise awareness.

During the talk, we were shown a video that explained and illustrated all this. Then we were allowed to ask questions. We asked political and medical questions, but also ethical and very personal questions about organ donation.

The students were receptive and interested. In the end, everyone who wanted to was given an organ donor card. It's a small way for us in Salem to help raise awareness and possibly save someone's life. From the age of 14, you can refuse to be an organ donor, but from the age of 16, you can choose to be one. "It's the decision that counts".

Photos: Verena Bensch & Lavinia Heihoff