A Part of the Way

by Dr. Lenka Taylor, Heidelberg

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.

I, too, was cordially invited to walk part of the way, and I gladly accepted the invitation. Thankfully, my research work at the Tumor Biology Clinic was financially supported by the Kirstin's Way Association and thus made possible at all, so that after completing my doctorate I was happy to join the board of the association and the foundation in order to be able to give something back and contribute, to show my gratitude for the guidance I was given along the way.

Now I have become a longtime companion of the Diehl family and Kirstin's path and I am looking forward to continue to be one. It is close to my heart to honor the life's work of the Diehl family and Kirstin's legacy, and also, and especially for this purpose, to transfer it into a model with a promising future. After completing my doctorate, I returned to Heidelberg to continue supporting research for the benefit of patients here at the University Hospital. While working in the pharmacy of the University Hospital, I also became one of the many companions of our pediatric oncology research, which also reached a milestone a few years ago with the founding of the KiTZ. The idea of one day merging these two paths and having them become one has excited and convinced me from the beginning and does so today more than ever.

I am looking forward to the path ahead and would like to express my sincere thanks to all supporters and companions - now, in the past and in the future - who are opening up this path