Interview:

Commitment despite a tight schedule

Three questions to … Dr. Astrid Offer

by LKO,  2017/01/18

For six years now the Cologne general practitioner and sport physician Dr. Astrid Offer engages in various campaigns for the worldwide help of humedica: as a coordinator of charity tournaments at golf clubs, as a donator or by founding the so-called humedica travel fund. In our interview she explains how engagement for people in need is possible even if the schedule is tight.

Dr. Offer, your engagement for humedica is multifaceted, most recently you have organised a charity golf tournament in your home city Cologne. How did you proceed?

The spontaneous idea to play golf with interested members of the national DFB women soccer team was born in private. It stood for reason to turn it into a small tournament. I then offered to organise it, if it would be dedicated for a good cause - for humedica – This idea found eager approval among all immediately.

I contacted a golf club in Cologne, where I used to play quite often. This club supported privately organised tournaments with reduced entry fees and so were able to play an 18-hole course like in official competitions and to offer a four-hour trial course at the same time. The former national head coach Silvia Neid, the former DFB team manager Doris Fitschen and some of the other gold medallists took part in the event.

We set up donation boxes and organised a raffle, which offered the chance to win attractive prizes such as a golf bag for the investment of just one Euro per lot. In the end we collected about 750 Euro and provided for a lot of fun.

Having fun and doing good: the revenue of the charity golf event goes to the worldwide relief projects of humedica. Photo: private

A great event. But you engage for humedica also in other ways, e.g. you also initiated the travel fund. How does the fund work and what were your intentions?

The idea of the travel fund, which I initiated several years ago, is to motivate volunteers by offering financial support. In particular those volunteers, who have enough time to participate in a relief intervention, but not enough money to pay for the flight, which is mandatory if you plan to take part in long-term operations. Others may have enough money, but lack the time to spend the expected three to six weeks as an intervention team member. By contributing to the travel fund, these people can nevertheless help to render the participation in a relief operation possible for other volunteers.

At home I also have a donation box, where I put all the loose cash. Last year that amounted for approximately 250 Euro, which went to the travel fund to finance another outbound flight for a volunteer, who otherwise would not have been able to take part in the intervention.

You have also been trained as a humedica emergency team member. Could you imagine participating in an intervention abroad?

When I was 20 years old, I went to Uganda and Kenya for six weeks and worked at a hospital in the Nyapea village near the Zaire border. Some years ago I also spent six weeks for another organisation in Kalkutta, India. When I passed a really good training at humedica later on, I would have loved to take also part in a humedica intervention. But unfortunately in the meantime it has become quite difficult for me to free myself from my commitments and my work as a practitioner and sports physician for several weeks in a row.

If I took part in a relief operation now, I would have to spend the major part of my annual leave, which I can not afford at the moment. After all volunteers are not supposed to get themselves into trouble by loosing their power to manage their own everyday life. Mindfulness is important while working in health professions in order to stay fit enough to carry out such a job until retirement. So for now I engage in funding travels for other volunteers, but when I finally retire, humedica will never get rid of me again (laughing). I am already looking forward to it.

Thank you very much for the interview. All the best for you.

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