After around 18 hours of uninterrupted programming, Catalonia’s annual telethon La Maratóon raised over €10 million for Covid-19 research on Sunday. Organized by public broadcasters TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, every year since 1992 this telethon raises millions in public donations for a different medical cause. At past 2am, after a full day of donations, the figure of the initiative’s 29th edition was €10,305,819.

Hosted by journalists Laura Rosel, Raquel Sans, Mònica Terribas, Jordi Basté and Roger Escapa, the telethon has taken place both in a TV set but also in some of Catalonia’s main public hospitals, including Clínic, Sant Pau and Vall d’Hebron. Igualada’s hospital also featured to remember the first major Covid-19 cluster in the country in March, in central Catalonia. This year’s edition was also a tribute to health workers and other essential services, as experiences of patients and doctors were heard throughout the whole show.

The telethon also included some entertainment and also music, with performances of Stay Homas, Rozalén, Escolania de Montserrat choir, La Pegatina, Sílvia Pérez Cruz, Amaia, Antonio Orozco, Judit Neddermann and Bad Gyal among others. Events throughout Catalonia to raise funds were also held but adapted to the current pandemic.

€202m raised in 29 years

It is also customary that hundreds of people take calls from donors in four seats – Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona –, but in order to avoid transmissions, this was replaced by online systems of donation such as Bizum.

Given the emergency of the pandemic, this year research projects wanting to bid for a grant will not have to wait until next year, but from Monday to January 18 they will be able to present their plans.

From 1992, La Marató has raised €202 million euros that have funded 913 research projects on fields like cancer, rare diseases, heart diseases and stroke. In 2019, the telethon focused on rare diseases, and the previous years on cancer and infectious diseases.

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