FOCUS Online won the Journalism Award of the Diakonie Baden-Württemberg with a video reportage on the story of a single father and his two severely disabled children. The editors Lisa-Marie Jeschina and Jasmin Larmache received the award in the category "Online Documentation".
The two video reporters have sensitively portrayed Axel Lankenau and his two sons Jonas and Felix, who suffer from the rare genetic effect PCH2. The video reached and moved millions of people. The contribution resulted in over 40,000 euros being donated to the parents' association "PCH-Familie" and the "Cruise for Life" project. The campaign is intended to enable affected families to exchange ideas with doctors and experts and thus advance research. With "Cruise for Life" Lankenau wants to make a journey that is actually impossible possible: He is planning a cruise with his two sons, other affected families and extensive care by nurses and doctors.
"It can happen to anyone"
Axel Lankenau addresses people who are lucky that their lives are not determined by an illness like this. "There will always be this illness and someone will be hit by it, because this is fate. It would be great if we had a society that has an awareness that people who do not have to share this fate can see where they can help to make it easier to deal with it."
Pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH2) is the name of the disease his two sons Jonas and Felix suffer from. It is a rare genetic defect in which both parts of the brain do not develop sufficiently, leading to severe multiple disabilities.
FOCUS Online's contribution takes viewers into the home and into the everyday life of the family. The editors capture how Lankenau cares for his sons with love and dedication. Over the years, he has learned to interact with them and understand them even though they cannot speak. The jury praises this emotional portrayal and the high level of attention that was achieved for the fundraiser.
Award for reporting on social issues
FOCUS Online consistently relies on constructive and solution-oriented journalism, with the portal also consciously drawing users' attention to social issues. Most recently, FOCUS Online initiated Germany's largest aid campaign in the Corona crisis under the title #CoronaCare.
The award will be presented on 2 December 2020 in Karlsruhe. Prize money totalling 12,500 euros will be awarded. The award will be presented again in 2021.