Sitting in a TV studio, nine-year-old Catalina is so happy she can barely speak through her hysterical sobs. A video documenting her six month rehabilitative transformation from a wheelchair-bound little girl to a buoyant, able-bodied child has just been broadcast to millions of Chilean viewers.
“I just wanted the chance to have an operation,” she weeps, “I never imagined my rehabilitation would be so successful!”
Interviewing her live on stage, the flamboyant presenter turns to the camera and sends out a final message before the commercial break: “Let there be no doubt, we are the world champions of solidarity.”
Bar general election years, Chile has united around the common cause of raising money for disabled children annually since 1978. The phenomenon, known as the “Teletón,” occurs in the form of a 27-hour fundraising show broadcast live on every major Chilean TV station, and sponsored by a number of major business partners…