It’s a topic that causes uneasiness in many people and that is little talked about: hospices – the place where people are cared for when they die. Kerstin Hoffmann and her colleague Mirja Behrens want to change that, they want to create visibility and contribute to more attention. The two work in the Paul Gerhardt Hospice, Hoffmann as a nurse and Behrens as a physiotherapist. “We mainly work with cancer patients,” says Hoffmann. “This palliative care is still a taboo subject, as is cancer.”
This is also one of the reasons why the two decided to take part in the “KoRo Women’s Run Berlin”. They want to collect as many donations as possible for the Berlin Cancer Society. “Since we work in a hospice, we know how important it is to collect donations,” says Hoffmann. “Hospices have to generate five percent of the costs themselves through donations.” In the past two years, the women’s run has been canceled due to the pandemic, and around 10,000 participants are now expected in the Tiergarten on Saturday afternoon. One euro of the participation fee goes to the Berlin Cancer Society.
Hoffmann and her colleague have sporting experience: they took part in the run last year, back then it was virtual. Their walking distance was five kilometers, this year they want to double it because the participants can choose their own distance. “Running in a group and doing good with it is what prompted us to take part again this year,” says Hoffmann.
In preparation, the two trained together in the Charlottenburg Palace Park and in the Tiergarten. Due to Hoffmann’s professional activity, this was not always easy to accomplish. “During shift work, it is a great challenge to train together.”
Hoffmann herself gave herself a pair of roller skates for her 50th birthday last year, with which she has been training ever since. Walking and roller skating is a good combination, she says, because the movements are so similar. She infected two other colleagues with her enthusiasm, who have now also registered for the run. She hopes more will join in the coming year.
What is special about this year is that, for the first time, not only women suffering from breast cancer are receiving financial support. “We want to help women with all forms of cancer with our hardship fund,” says Barbara Kempf, Managing Director of the Berlin Cancer Society. “Because financial hardship doesn’t stop at rare cancers.”
This also includes women who have fled cancer from the Ukraine in Berlin. Thanks to the hybrid format, runners from all over the world can theoretically participate and collect donations from anywhere. “Last year a group from Lower Bavaria even got together with women from all age groups. That was remarkable.” The Ukrainian marathon runner Tetjana Kuzina, who had to flee with her children, will also be there. Among others, Rabea Schöneborn, Christina Gerdes and Lisa Hahner are expected from Berlin.
Sport plays an important role, especially in the context of cancer. “Many studies have shown that exercise is important in many ways in cancer patients,” explains Kempf. “You can also see that in healthy people: you feel stronger and better if you exercise regularly and that can also be applied to people who have cancer.” Studies have shown that regular physical activity has a favorable effect on the course of the disease could influence. “Above all, the risk of infection complications under chemotherapy decreases.”
After surviving breast cancer, the risk of recurrence can also be reduced and even hospital stays, for example in the case of leukemia, can be shortened by working under professional supervision. “But it’s noticeable that people who didn’t do any sport before they fell ill find it difficult to persuade them to do so,” says Kempf. Sport is a good balance and an important outlet – also to gain mental strength.