Return | Stiftung

Hilfe für Menschen mit Schlaganfall durch Hirnblutung und Locked-In-Syndrom

If everything falls apart 

Suddenly, unexpectedly and with full force, a stroke that is caused by intracranial haemorrhaging and results in locked-in syndrome can turn a family’s ordinary life upside down. Complete paralysis means the victim is totally cut off from the outside world, despite the fact that they are still in their right mind and fully conscious: They are trapped inside their own body. The stroke draws the whole family into a vortex of illness, worry, fear, despair and anger. While the victim is busy fighting for their life and requires 24-hour care, the worried family face enormous emotional, physical, organisational, bureaucratic and financial challenges.


Where on earth do we go from here?

How am I ever going to manage this?

Why can’t things just go back to how they were?

What will I do about the children?

Hopefully I’ll wake up soon and realise it was all a bad dream.


Helping families stay together

The Return | Foundation helps to ensure families don’t fall apart if their normal lives have been turned upside down by a stroke, caused by intracranial haemorrhaging, that has resulted in locked-in syndrome. We help families who have been affected to find their way back to one another in whatever way they can.

The Return | Foundation is a non-incorporated foundation under civil law, administered on trust by the Hamburg law office ASG Asche Stein Glockemann Verstl Wiezorec. The foundation trustee acts on behalf of the Return | Foundation in legal and business transactions. The foundation trustee is subject to the foundation deed and the statutes. The Return | Foundation meets the requirements of the Fiscal Code for having non-profit status for tax purposes.

We support

  • people who have suffered a stroke caused by intracranial haemorrhaging that has resulted in locked-in syndrome, with a particular focus on aids, care and therapy 
  • relatives of sufferers, with a particular focus on aids, relief and therapy
  • the funding of research projects in the field of locked-in syndrome
  • medical and therapeutic facilities in the fields of neurology and locked-in syndrome


Bodies of the Return | Foundation


Raphael El-Sahelihas dealt with locked-in syndrome in his circle of friends. His personal experience with the disorder resulted in an urge to help, which is why he founded the Return | Foundation in order to support victims and their families in overcoming major challenges.


ASG Asche Stein Glockemann Verstl Wiezoreck

The founder chose to set up a fiduciary foundation, because this form of foundation ensures a high degree of transparency and commitment when handling donations. For example, any expenditure is subject to the two-person rule involving the foundation trustee and the chairman, also taking into account the foundation deed and the statutes. The foundation has been implemented and is administered by the Hamburg law firm ASG. The business newspaper Handelsblatt awarded ASG a gold Pyramid of Excellence for Best Foundation Experts: “If there is one law firm [in Hamburg] that stands out in the field of foundations, this is it. Many proposals for new foundations end up here; they are planned carefully and structured skilfully in readiness for the future.” Handelsblatt Elite Report


Jörg Büttinghaus, Diplom-Kaufmann (FH) (graduate in Business Administration), was confronted with locked-in syndrome in his family. As an entrepreneur and having been personally affected, he has gained extensive experience which he brings to the Return | Foundation in a voluntary capacity.

Advisory committee

Dr Markus Demele, holds a degree in Theology, also studied Business Management (BA) and is General Secretary of the International Kolping Society. Dr Demele serves the Return | Foundation on a voluntary basis, working in an advisory capacity on ethical and organisational issues.

Hans-Peter Rauh, an alternative practitioner with a core focus on depth psychology, has spent decades accompanying patients with severe physiological and psychological disorders. Given his experience with anxiety disorders, blockages, depression and problems associated with overload, Mr Rauh serves the Return | Foundation on a voluntary basis as a psychological advisor.

Prof. Michael Rutz is Managing Director of “Prof. Rutz Communications GmbH”, Berlin, and also a political journalist and honorary professor at the University of Applied Sciences Mittweida in the field of Media Technology. Prof. Rutz serves the Return | Foundation on a voluntary basis as communications advisor.

Ragnhild Struss, degree in International Business, master in Organizational Psychology, psychotherapist, founder and owner of “Struss and Partner Career Strategies”, founder of the non-profit careers scholarship “Step up! Karrierewege e.V.” Ms Struss serves the Return | Foundation on a voluntary basis as an advisor for matters concerning psychology and fundraising.


About locked-in syndrome