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How the 24 Hours of Le Mans provides crucial support to Racing for Charity

Reading time

4 Mins

Porsche 963
24 Hours of Le Mans

News |

How the 24 Hours of Le Mans provides crucial support to Racing for Charity

Reading time

4 Mins

Porsche 963
24 Hours of Le Mans

Introduction

During the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche will raise crucial funds for three charitable organisations through the Racing for Charity initiative.

Look closely on each of the Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 and you will notice the Racing for Charity logo. Sitting on the inside of the right hand-side of each car bonnet, it represents a crucial initiative by Porsche to help three charities which support seriously ill children and their families.

Porsche will donate 750 euros for each lap driven by the works cars, and the funds will be split between Kinderherzen retten e.V., Interplast Germany e.V. and the Ferry Porsche Foundation, as they were in 2023. Last year, at the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the three factory entries completed a total of 733 laps, This resulted in a 549,750 euro donation, which the company topped up to 911,000 euros, and earned Porsche first place in the ‘Sustainable Endurance Award’ of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). Ahead of the 2024 edition of the race, representatives from two of the charities spoke about the impact last year’s money had, and how this year’s donations will enable them to continue their crucial work.

Porsche hopes to make another substantial donation to all three charities following the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race runs from 4pm on June 15 until 4pm on June 16.

Kinderherzen retten e.V.

Kinderherzen retten e.V. helps children from developing countries who have congenital heart defects. Professor Friedhelm Beyersdorf, founder of the association joined the University of Freiburg Medical Centre in Germany in 1994, helping to develop its paediatric cardiac department before establishing the charity in 2002. Since then, it has saved the hearts of hundreds of children, and with last year’s funds, the charity has been able to provide 12 additional children with successful and life-saving heart operations. The charity treats children who can be cured in just one surgery, without needing additional treatment or medication once they return to their home countries.

The process involves a huge team of specialists, and children are flown to Germany to undergo their surgery, which also requires networks of host families, for visas to be processed and transport organised. Professor Beyersdorf says the charity is “giving as a gift a new life” to children who may otherwise die within five to eight years, despite their heart defects being easily curable.

He told of the case of five-year-old Manar, who suffered from a hole in the heart and lives with her grandmother in Syria as her mother passed away and her father is in the army. Kinderherzen retten flew her to Freiburg for successful surgery and she was able to return to her host family just five days after her surgery, before returning to Syria a few days later without requiring further treatment.

The funds the charity receives from this year’s race will enable it to help even more children like Manar from Syria, saving lives which may have otherwise been lost. Professor Beyersdorf emphasized just how crucial teamwork is to Kinderherzen retten, and said “nobody can work without the others.”

“For a successful outcome after heart surgery in children, you need not only surgeons, but also pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, special perfusionists, intensive care nurses, doctors and many more. So that means everybody is necessary and yes, definitely it’s a team effort, and this again brings us back to Porsche. Porsche is the same. What we are seeing today is a huge team effort."

Interplast Germany e.V.

Founded in 1980, Interplast Germany is dedicated to humanitarian plastic reconstructive surgery operating young patients in developing countries suffering from soft tissue defects caused by accidents, burns, tumors and congenital malformations. Interplast works globally, and has an international network operating in Asia, Africa and South America among other places in developing countries. Having also been a part of last year’s Racing for Charity initiative, the charity used the donation for medical missions in Tanzania and Mozambique, among other places, to provide aid.

The funds meant Interplast was able to operate on 125 additional children in those two countries, providing vital help to those who would have otherwise been unable to receive it. Professor Jürgen Dolderer explains that not only does the charity perform those surgeries, it also provides education to local surgeons in the field of reconstructive surgery to allow them to perform that work in the future.

Speaking of the impact of the charity’s work, he spoke of six-year-old girl Zita, from Tanzania, who suffered severe scarring to her hand due to burns.

Professor Dolderer said: “She could not even grasp anything or write, but her biggest wish was going to school. After the successful operation, she was able to grab things and also then to write and have the possibility to go to school."

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