Saving lives together: Porsche Holding Salzburg employees eager to help leukaemia patients
- Porsche Holding supports Austria's 'Give for Life' association
- Active participation in HLA typing at the Porschehof
- 112 potential donors signed up
- Salzburg-based company assumed typing costs of 4,480 euros
25 April 2023, Salzburg - At Porsche Holding Salzburg, social responsibility is in our DNA. Following the successful Christmas campaign to raise funds for 'Herzkinder Österreich', an organization that supports children with congenital heart defects, employees of the Salzburg-based automotive distribution company are now actively supporting the next social project. This time, the focus is on helping leukaemia patients by making life-saving stem cell donations.
"Together with the association 'Give for Life - Leukaemia Aid Austria' we called on our employees to sign up as stem cell donors and ideally save lives. This met with such a great response that we immediately decided to offer human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing right here, in-house," said Paul Gahleitner, Head of Human Resources of Porsche Holding Salzburg, outlining the exceedingly positive outcome of the drive.
A total of 112 employees signed up and submitted a cheek swab to start the process. Typing of specific DNA characteristics determines whether the potential stem cell donor is a good match for a person who is seriously ill. "We were delighted to see such active participation, because with every new recruit the likelihood of finding suitable donors increases," said Stephan Thuswaldner, Chairman of the Works Council of Porsche Holding.
Typing incurs expenses of 40 euros per person. Porsche Holding assumed these costs, donating the total of 4,480 euros to the 'Geben für Leben' (Give for Life) association.
Signing up was painless
Our partner, a non-profit association based in the Vorarlberg province of Austria, carried out the typing in the large conference room of the Porschehof quickly and seamlessly. This organisation is committed to finding suitable stem cell donors to give sick people the gift of life. Physically healthy people of between the ages of 17 and 45 who weigh at least 50 kg were possible recruits. Using a test kit they performed a straightforward cheek swab on themselves, which including data entry took only about ten minutes per person.
Donations are always voluntary
After the DNA has been evaluated, the HLA characteristics will be stored in a global database. If they are a good match with those of a leukaemia patient, the registered person will be notified and their consent to donate stem cells obtained. Donations are always voluntary, regardless of whether the donation - as in 80 per cent of cases - will be taken from blood stem cells or from bone marrow, though the latter is mainly for saving the lives of small children. Ultimately, it is the transplant physician who decide which of the two types will provide the best outcome for the patients.