La Marató 2009 carried out a powerful and necessary action of raising public awareness about a group of diseases that are little known, largely unseen and often overlooked: rare diseases. The funds obtained in that edition of the programme are an important injection of financial resources to the biomedical research that will lead to advances in the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of the people who suffer from them.
Rare diseases form a very diverse group. Because of their large number (over 7,000) and low incidence (each of them affects one person in 2,000) they pass widely unnoticed.
While few of people are affected by each individual rare disease is, taken as a whole they affect a large number: in Catalonia alone they affect 400,000 people, as many as diabetes. That is a large minority.