Infectious diseases

7,215,676 euros for research on infectious diseases

Catalonia answered the call of La Marató de TV3 and Catalunya Radio with a volume of resources that will give a boost to research on diseases that cause one in every three deaths worldwide, diseases that the experts say will become a serious public health problem in the coming years.

As usual, at eight o'clock, Catalunya Radio fired the starting gun for the charity day with a special edition of "El suplement", directed and presented by Ricard Ustrell. The radiothon combined information about infectious diseases with contributions from medical experts and statements from people who were affected, with connections with the day's early-bird popular activities and the call centre in the Fira de Barcelona. The contribution from Andreu Buenafuente, who spoke of the success of volunteer work in Catalan society, and the musical note set by four of the groups participating in this year's La Marató disc are some of the entertainment contents of a space that lasted until 13.00.

At ten o'clock, Helena Garcia Melero welcomed the TV La Marató from TV3's Studio One. Until well after one in the morning she alone led a programme that renewed its unique formula that alternates swiftly between spreading scientific knowledge and personal, statements, public participation and the most varied entertainment. The singer Ferran Aixalà accompanied Garcia Melero through the 15 hours of live broadcasting, first on the piano and later as leader of the band Pastorets Rock, which grew as the programme went on.

The infectious diseases held centre stage in this edition and, as usual in this format, were approached from their medical and experience aspects, provided by patients of all ages. Augmented reality was the vehicle used to explain what the microorganisms that cause infections are like, why there are superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics and how sepsis develops. There were also publicity actions looking at their past present and future: a review of the history of the infections that have affected mankind and there was a tribute to Rainer Maria Rilke, protagonist of this year's La Marató TV commercial, whose delicate state of health meant that he died from an infection acquired by pricking himself on a rose thorn.

In the line of publicity combined with entertainment, one of the main themes of this edition was the efforts made by many journalists of this media channel, actors and even members of the public to "cure" the logo of the programme, which had become infected with viruses and bacteria. Viewers saw the actors of the series "Merlí" taking part in a "room escape" and the presenters of the "Telenotícies" competing with the ones from the programme "Està passant" in "El Gran Medicat", presented by Òscar Dalmau, testing their knowledge of infectious diseases and their skill at spelling the names of antibiotics.

The experiences shared by people who passed through the studio today proved essential for understanding that infectious diseases affect everybody and can have serious consequences. The programme introduced us to people who have overcome serious infections, who have to live with infectious diseases like HIV or tuberculosis, or who have been at death's door because of a sepsis, a generalised infection that causes ten deaths every day in Catalonia alone.

From all parts of Catalonia, the cameras of La Marató showed the vitality with which society has become involved for another year in this charity project. Viewers saw 50 of the more than 3,000 popular activities, such as the sausage barbecue in Sant Pau d'Ordal, the meeting of "tions" in Reus, the firefighters' race in Girona or charity sailing in Llavaneres. This year's activities had an active role in updating the scoreboard. For the first time this was activated by a push-button fitted on a kind of remote-controlled car that drove all around Catalonia. In this way, people taking part in activities in Campdevànol, Gerb and Solsona were able to activate the La Marató scoreboards and connect the activities in more 700 places with what was happening in the studio in Sant Joan Despí.

La Marató also connected many times over the course of the day with the four call centres where public support arrived in the form of calls to 905 11 50 50. A total of 2,400 volunteers in the Fira de Barcelona, Lleida ​​ University, the Port of Tarragona and the Palace of Congresses in Girona were responsible for dealing with the tens of thousands of donations that raised the scoreboard of the 26th edition of La Marató.

Music and show-business of all kinds had their place in the broadcast. Viewers cold see live performances of the artists who appeared on this year's disc, such as Joan Rovira, Sara Terraza, Wom, Funkystep & The Sey Sisters and India Martínez. The Catalan trap group P.A.W.N. Gang sang the theme composed for this year's publicity video, "Exterminem!!!". Many other performers of a wide range of genres and styles filled the studio with music, like Daniel Anglès, Víctor Arbelo and the choir of the Escuela Aulas, Barcelona Gospel Messengers, the Casa Azul, Halldór Már, Hora de Joglar and the "Noche de musicales". Cabaret, magic and circus also had their place in La Marató with the participations of La Familia Bastarda, Mag Lari, the Circo Vermut and the La Veronal company.

La Marató de TV3 and Catalunya Radio have now reached the 26th edition of what has become consolidated as the great charity event in Catalonia and one of the most important motors of biomedical research in the country, which has led to 794 research projects on a wide variety of diseases. Every year it involves hundreds of thousands of people, groups, institutions, associations and professionals from many fields. When the broadcast programme comes to an end, work starts on La Marató of scientific research, which benefits the health of all of society thanks to an expression of trust that has lasted since 1992.