Elisabeth Sticker

Elisabeth Stickler

What is your role in corience? How did you start?

As a psychologist and mother of a CHD child, I have been involved with CHD research since 1994. In 2003, I conducted a study of European CHD umbrella organisations for the German umbrella organisation Bundesverband Herzkranke Kinder (BVHK). So when I was asked in 2007 to join a CHD network project for the EU, I said yes right away, feeling both qualified and highly motivated. In corience, I will act as a liaison for the BVHK, gathering information, writing dossiers, etc.

What is your personal motivation to work for corience?

My son Martin was born with a heart defect in 1984. The first year of his life was very hard on our whole family, because he would not keep any nourishment down and we lived with the constant worry that he would be underfed. He is currently completing his studies in literature and philosophy, and says that his heart defect has no impact on his life. Had we known that everything would turn out so positively, we would certainly have felt less stressed at the beginning of his life. I want to share my experiences and help make life easier for other patients and their families.

When did you decide to start working for a CHD organisation?

When Martin was a baby, there was no organisation for parents of CHD children. Still, we received a lot of support from other parents we met on the ward. Three years later, our pediatric cardiologist asked if we were interested in co-founding an organisation for parents. We agreed immediately and have been active members ever since. Today, I work for the German umbrella organisation and am head of the committees “Sports Groups for CHD Children” and “School and Job”. Plus, of course, my work for corience.

Are there any unusual events in your life you’d like to share?

Here’s an anecdote that illustrates how much fun life with a CHD child can be: In the summer of 1994, after we started our CHD sports project, a couple of journalists wanted to do a story on our family and especially Martin, who was then 10. They had to work hard to make Martin and his younger brother and sister “play naturally” for their photo shoot, and when they left, Martin was clearly stressed out. To relieve that stress, he grabbed some Nordic skiing equipment. Using paddles as ski sticks, he “skied” all the way to the bakery and even up the steps, much to the delight and bewilderment of everyone he met.