The Stefan Morsch Foundation, based in Birkenfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate, is Germany’s first stem cell donor center. After it became clear that the special requirements of foundation PR could no longer be met with Outlook, the foundation switched to the specialized PR software PressFile.

If chemotherapy and radiation do not bring the desired success, a stem cell donation is often the only chance of a cure for many leukemia and tumor patients. However, only 30 percent of those affected find a suitable donor in their family – all others are dependent on an outside donation. For this to succeed, the genetic tissue characteristics of the donor and recipient must be as similar as possible. This means that the more people who are registered as stem cell donors, the higher the chances of finding a matching ‘genetic twin’ for each sick person.

As early as 1986, the Stefan Morsch Foundation set itself the task of building up such a file – as the first organization of its kind in Germany. The impetus for this was given by the eponymous Stefan Morsch, who in 1984 – at the age of 16 – was the first European to be cured of his leukemia through the transfer of foreign bone marrow. Only a few months later, however, Stefan died of pneumonia. By establishing the foundation, his parents fulfilled his wish to support other leukemia patients in their fight against the disease. Today, almost 35 years later, the file comprises almost 500,000 potential donors and continues to grow through regular typing campaigns. In addition to this collection of potential lifesavers, the foundation also provides direct support to patients, including referrals to clinics and doctors, as well as financial assistance when people are in need due to their illness. In addition, with the help of the Stefan Morsch Foundation, several specialized transplant units and clinics have been established and various research projects on the subject have been co-financed.

Easily adjust and mix manifolds

For the Foundation’s press and public relations work, the frequent typification campaigns pose a particular challenge. These take place throughout Germany and must be advertised individually in the regional press in order to attract as much local attention as possible. “Before we switched to PressFile, we were still working exclusively with Outlook,” explains press officer Lena Gielen. However, this method did not adequately meet the specific requirements of the foundation. “We needed a software solution for foundation PR that would allow us to quickly and easily assemble our press contacts into specific distribution lists, as well as customize and remix existing distribution lists.” PressFile represents the optimal platform for this. A clearly defined distribution list can be created individually, based on addresses, keywords, departments or other criteria. The intuitive user interface allows users to quickly search for contacts and distribution lists or group them according to specific criteria. The ability to merge multiple press distribution lists means that new, exactly matching mailing lists can be created on an ad-hoc basis. Where previously these had to be compiled laboriously, contact by contact, today all it takes is a few clicks.

A convincing package for foundation PR

The other benefits of the cloud application are also appreciated by the employees of the Stefan Morsch Foundation. Simple and precise contact management, individual mail templates and the clear archiving of clippings naturally also play a decisive role in the press and public relations work of a foundation. Good service and a fair price round off the attractive overall package. Accordingly, it did not take much convincing to switch to PressFile. Lena Gielen was also already familiar with the system through previous jobs: “I have known PressFile for years and have always been completely satisfied. Especially now, in times of Corona, the strengths of the cloud-based solution become apparent. Whether in the office, in the home office or on the road, we have access to our contacts and distribution lists at all times.”

Due to current constraints in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, few on-site typing events can be implemented at this time. To ensure that the donor file continues to grow, the Stefan Morsch Foundation is now increasingly relying on online typing. “Anyone who wants to become a donor can easily register on our website,” explains Lena Gielen. “We then send a kit that you can use to take a saliva sample yourself. After that, you simply send the package back to us.” The sample is then typed in the foundation’s own laboratory and the respective HLA characteristics are stored in the stem cell donor file. Afterwards, the data is transmitted to the German central register in pseudonymized form. “One is then available worldwide as a lifesaver for a leukemia patient.” For the future, however, she would like to see a return of the typing campaigns in the near future: “Whether at rock concerts, conventions or Bundesliga games – many people contribute to our goal of finding a suitable donor for each patient through their commitment. With the help of PressFile, we want to invite as many interested people as possible.”

PressFile for the Foundation PR