The KiTZ Foundation

in Memory of Kirstin Diehl

Portrait Katia Fundter

Katia Fundter


Postal address:
Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 130.3
69120 Heidelberg


Frederike Scheurer

Fundraising and event organization


Hopp-Kindertumorzentrum Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 130.3
69120 Heidelberg


KiTZ Foundation in memory of Kirstin Diehl

The "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl" was established as the "Kirstin Diehl Foundation" in October 2006 by Gerd and Gerda Diehl, Kirstin Diehl's parents. It was transferred to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) as a trust foundation in 2021.

The purpose of the "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl" is to promote science and cancer research, as well as public health in the field of pediatric oncology. It supports projects in the field of innovative patient care and research at KiTZ, as well as infrastructure projects and investments.


Origins of the Kirstin Diehl Foundation

Kirstin Diehl was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 18. Despite her young years and her serious illness, the disease was the reason for her to dedicate her energy and courage to cancer medicine and cancer research from then on. In 1996 Kirstin founded the association "Kirstins Weg e.V.", with which she collected more than one million Marks in donations within a very short time. When she passed away from the disease on February 12, 1997, she left her heartfelt thanks to her family and all those who supported her on her way, and a request to continue where she left off. For friends and family, Kirstin Diehl will be remembered as the person who put her own concerns aside in an unprecedented way to help others.

Her parents Gerd and Gerda Diehl picked up where their daughter left off and continued the association in their daughter's memory. Over the next 25 years, they collected more than six million euros in donations for the benefit of people with cancer. Thanks to their commitment, almost all of this sum was donated to projects in cancer research and patient care. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the association "Kirstins Weg e.V.", the couple founded the "Kirstin Diehl Foundation". On December 3, 2012, the outstanding commitment of Gerd and Gerda Diehl, as well as that of their daughter before, was honored by the award of the Federal Cross of Merit.


The Kirstin Diehl Foundation becomes the KiTZ Foundation in memory of Kirstin Diehl

In order to maintain the memory of Kirstin Diehl and to continue the life's work of Gerd and Gerda Diehl, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) took over the trusteeship in 2021 and continues the Kirstin Diehl Foundation under the name "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl". In this way, the Foundation can continue to realize Kirstin Diehl's wish to further improve pediatric cancer research and patient care for children suffering from cancer and to ease the fate of affected families..

If you would also like to donate to the "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl", please use the following bank details:

KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl
IBAN DE16 6725 0020 0009 3300 54
Sparkasse Heidelberg

If you indicate your name and address on the bank transfer, you will receive a donation receipt.

If you have any questions or would like further information about your donation to the "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl", please contact us here.

If you are considering making a testamentary disposition in favor of the "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl",  please contact the DKFZ contacts.


Learn more about Kirstin Diehl

When we think of Kirstin, we always remember the day when the doctors gave us the devastating diagnosis that Kirstin had cancer. Kirstin was given only a short time to live. Despair and hopelessness caused a certain emptiness that left us completely unable to act. It took us several hours to realize what a profound change this would bring for all of us. Our joyful daughter was terminally ill from one minute to the next and for the first time we could do nothing to help her. Until now, the illnesses were predictable, at least somewhat assessable. Cough syrup, calf compresses, the security, the comfort, the love of the parents were enough to bring things back to normal. Everything was now so different, so incomprehensible, and everyone around us was apparently just as helpless and affected as we were. We remember the depressing situation when we looked at each other speechless with tears in our eyes for the second time - we knew that there was still an almost unsolvable task waiting for us. We had to explain to Kirstin how things were.

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25 years of Kirstin's Way and 15 years of Kirstin Diehl Foundation: this is truly an occasion to reflect on the past years. At the center of these, of course, is the founder of Kirstin's Way - Kirstin herself - and so I would like to turn to her first. Kirstin Diehl was attending the Rhein-Wied-Gymnasium in Neuwied when she had to interrupt school in the 12th grade. The doctors had diagnosed her with cancer. Because of the advanced disease, she was advised to have a liver transplant. The leading transplant physician at the time, Professor Pichlmeier of the Hannover Medical School, operated on her in July 1990, completely removing the tumor tissue through a liver transplant and removal of the stomach, spleen and lymph nodes. Kirstin went back to school and was able to graduate in June 1993. She had a firm place to study German, psychology and sociology at the University of Trier. In other words, the future was planned.

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The time has come. Gerda and Gerd Diehl hand over their life's work, the legacy of their daughter Kirstin Diehl, to "loyal hands". A long, very successful path, marked by a lot of heart and soul, passion, emotions, empathy, support, humanity at its best, and a lot of work has reached another major milestone, which is anything but the end of the road, but rather a new beginning.

Unfortunately, I was not able to meet Kirstin Diehl personally, as I was still a young girl myself when Kirstin passed away. Nevertheless, in 2006, as a young woman doing my doctoral thesis at the Tumor Biology Clinic in Freiburg, I was able to get to know the Diehl family, and from them I also learned a lot about Kirstin, whose vitality has remained present to so many people to this day. Kirstin has prepared and walked the path that countless people from every conceivable walk of life have accompanied and will continue to accompany, and her parents have continued to walk this path courageously, passionately and with full conviction

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Dear Mr. and Mrs. Diehl,

For three years now, the Kirstin Diehl Foundation has generously supported the area of pharmacological research at the KiTZ. With their help, we have been able to develop personalized, targeted treatment concepts for children with cancer who have relapsed in the laboratory. Now we are able to test the efficacy of 75 clinically available drugs simultaneously on individual patients' tumor samples, opening up new treatment opportunities for them. The drug screening program is part of the international INFORM project, which allows young cancer patients from all over Europe with a relapse to be included. It thus provides the basis for planning new clinical trials and provides decision support for new therapeutic approaches for previously incurable childhood cancers

Dear Mrs. Diehl, dear Mr. Diehl, this is precisely what you have been fighting for all these years with the Kirstin Diehl Foundation and the association Kirstins Weg e. V.: to promote cancer medicine and cancer research in order to better help people suffering from cancer. Now you have decided to transfer your foundation - your life's work - to the KiTZ. Together with Prof. Clemens Unger and Dr. Lenka Taylor, you have visited us at KiTZ on several occasions to see for yourself the progress being made in the projects you are funding. During these visits and over the three years of our collaboration, a relationship of trust has grown out of which you decided to take this step. We are deeply grateful to you for this.

We have not met Kirstin personally, but reading about her, we could probably not ask for a better patron saint for a KiTZ foundation: open-hearted, combative and selfless in her commitment to others and with a clear vision for cancer medicine and cancer research that serves the patient. We are pleased that in the future we will be able to pursue this vision together in the "KiTZ Foundation in Memory of Kirstin Diehl" and thus further improve the chances of recovery for children suffering from cancer and ease the fate of affected families.

We look forward to working together!


Hardly any question seems as difficult to answer as this one.

Yes, I knew her. I was allowed to accompany her on her way through her illness. She confided in me her thoughts, perhaps even one or two secrets that she shared with no one else. But do I therefore know what kind of person Kirstin was? I would probably only be able to answer this with a yes if I had been close to her more constantly, if I had accompanied her in all her sorrows, fears, hopes and successes.

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Kirstin Diehl

"I want to say thank you to all of you who have given me their friendship."

Kirstin Diehl

"We only truly live when we are committed to helping others. Please pick up where I had to leave off!"

Kirstin Diehl

"Look around you, so many are there waiting to help and ready to help you."