Anne-Sophie Mutter succeeds Fritz Pleitgen New President of Cancer Charity “Deutsche Krebshilfe”

April 12, 2021 – The Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the cancer charity Deutsche Krebshilfe have elected Anne-Sophie Mutter the new president of the charitable organization. The world-renowned violinist will represent the Deutsche Krebshilfe for the coming five years, succeeding Fritz Pleitgen, who held the office for ten years. “Only with profoundly felt empathy, sympathy and active support can we help people with cancer and their relatives. The Deutsche Krebshilfe has been impressively demonstrating this since its founding by Mildred Scheel in 1974,” says Mutter. “I am looking forward to contributing to this essential mission, as cancer is an issue that affects the midst of our society.”

Anne-Sophie Mutter considers it a great honour to contribute to the exemplary and ground-breaking work of the Deutsche Krebshilfe. “Every day, in Germany alone approximately 1,400 people receive a cancer diagnosis. I feel a profound need to help these people, but also their relatives,” says Mutter. She also considers palliative medicine a focus of her activism: where recovery has become impossible, the quality of life of those dying should be maintained to the very end. Cancer prevention is another issue dear to her heart: “It is nobody’s ‘fault’ when they develop cancer, as there are multiple reasons. However, everyone can contribute to lowering their own risk. Experts agree that 40 percent of all cancer cases could be avoided by a healthy lifestyle,” declares Mutter. This includes foregoing alcohol and nicotine, eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise.

“Anne-Sophie Mutter is an exceptional phenomenon on the national and international stage, a woman who reaches and touches people not just with her music, but also her empathy and authentic, unconventional manner,” says Dr. Joachim Faber, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Deutsche Krebshilfe. “I am convinced that Anne-Sophie Mutter will be a compelling ambassador for the issues and goals of the Deutsche Krebshilfe, on behalf of patients and our supporters.”

For many years, the artist has been taking advantage of her prominence and artistic work to support charitable projects around the world – including SOS Children’s Villages in Syria, the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Society and “Artists against AIDS” in the USA. The star musician also has personal experience of cancer, which affected her life profoundly when her first husband died of lung cancer in 1995, when their children were only one and three years old.

“Not just people with cancer, but also their families and relatives need our full support,” says Gerd Nettekoven, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Deutsche Krebshilfe. “Her experience of the illness has shown Anne-Sophie Mutter in a very personal way that cases of cancer always affect the entire family, and what that means for all those involved. Families and relatives of cancer patients have received too little attention so far. This is a very important issue which we want to address together with our new president.”

At the time, Anne-Sophie Mutter felt particularly that society’s taboo surrounding cancer was a great strain. “Many cancer patients still experience their illness as a reason for social exclusion, even today, and even if public awareness – not least thanks to the work of the Deutsche Krebshilfe – has changed for the better during recent decades,” says Mutter. If more open dealings with cancer were possible, this would significantly improve the quality of life for many of those afflicted.

“We must discuss cancer openly, that was Mildred Scheel’s creed when she founded the Deutsche Krebshilfe 47 years ago – and I say that not just as a former president of the Deutsche Krebshilfe, but also as a sufferer,” says Fritz Pleitgen, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. “I am certain that Anne-Sophie Mutter will experience much joy in her responsibilities as president of the Deutsche Krebshilfe. I speak from my own experience.”

The Deutsche Krebshilfe was founded by Dr. Mildred Scheel on September 25, 1974. First lady of the Federal Republic of Germany at the time, she held the office of president of the charitable organization until her death in 1985. From 1985 to 1999 Professor Dr. Dagmar Schipanski was president, followed by Professor Dr. Harald zur Hausen. He, in turn, was succeeded by the journalist and former Director of the WDR, Dr. Fritz Pleitgen. The office of president of the Deutsche Krebshilfe is an honorary position.

In Germany, approximately 510,000 persons are diagnosed with cancer every year. About half of all adult cancer patients can be healed today, along with four out of five afflicted children. The Deutsche Krebshilfe finances its activities in all fields of the struggle against cancer exclusively through donations and voluntary contributions from the public. It provides cancer patients and their relatives with quick and unbureaucratic help, supports projects seeking to improve prevention, early recognition, diagnosis, therapy, medical follow-up care and psycho-social support, including cancer self-help.

Information on the work and projects of the Deutsche Krebshilfe can be found at

Press conference: Anne-Sophie Mutter new president of cancer charity “Deutsche Krebshilfe”

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