Malta’s most beloved telethon, L-Istrina, is set to return and it’s more important than ever that you tune in and play your part.
This Boxing Day, a 12-hour L-Istrina marathon will be broadcast across all Maltese TV stations and online, with donations going to the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation to support patients suffering from severe chronic illnesses and people going through serious social problems.
However, it will start with a significant disadvantage this year.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, traditional fundraising events such as Rockestra and the President’s Fun Run couldn’t be held this year, which ultimately left the Community Chest Fund with fewer opportunities.
It has also placed a greater emphasis than usual on the actual Boxing Day event and a lot hinges on whether people call in to pledge what they can.
From Żurrieq festa aficionado Lyden Lee to make-up loving Kendra, thousands of people are helped by the Community Chest Fund Foundation every year, including cancer patients and people who suffer from rare illnesses which require specialised treatment abroad.
Funds are spent on the treatment itself, as well as on covering accommodation, transport and subsistence costs, leaving patients’ minds at rest that they won’t have to worry about fresh financial burdens over and above their health problems themselves.
However, due to COVID-19 requiring Maltese travellers to other countries to quarantine, only urgent cases are currently making it. Those who do make it have to stay longer due to health precautions and other pandemic-related restrictions.
And the sad fact is that many of these patients will be spending Christmas alone this year, as it is currently very difficult for relatives to travel to be by their side.
However, it relies completely on public donations and it’s urging people and businesses to give whatever they can in this year’s edition of L-Istrina.
With Christmas and New Year parties, events and dinners cancelled this year, many people might have more to spare than usual.
COVID-19 regulations mean the actual L-Istrina show will be scaled down from previous editions, but conversely, the need to participate has never been this pressing.
Malta always manages to step it up when the need is greatest, and now is the time to show that a sense of solidarity beats strongly in all our hearts.
Cover photos: L-Istrina