“The Telethon went from giving toys to prolonging lives”
It was December 1989. The then mayor Elsa Bucaram gathered the poor of Guayaquil to deliver free toys from slides that came out, like dragon tongues, from upper floors of the Municipal Palace. There were dead.
The bloody day not only marked a day in the history of the city. It also changed the road map of the solidarity initiative Telethon, mentalized and executed only seven years before that date, by the now mayor Jaime Nebot Saadi.
“We collected funds and distributed toys to all children of fiscal and fiscomisional schools of Guayas, in coordination with the Armed Forces; butsince that fateful day, the free toys were seen as dangerous, and we were forced to turn the cause around, “recalls EXPRESO Pascual del Cioppo,director of the Telethon Foundation.
The businessman also meets in front of the Telethon the 27 years of the initiative,after that time ago, Nebot, who was governor of Guayas, arranged that, in addition to being his private secretary, whoever commands the cause.
The distribution of toys lasted only eight years and is full of moments, like the times when the dolls came to the headless cantons and the schools called to say that the girls did not stop crying. Then the foundation chose a bigger toy and sent it, as if to remedy the bad moment, recalls Del Cioppo.
The solidarity agenda after that time was the construction of buildings for charitable foundations that had nowhere to operate. An idea of the philanthropist Carlos Piechestein. There were eleven in total, says Monica Peña, generalcoordinator of the foundation.
The director has a thousand anecdotes about the initiative; but without a doubt the most relevant is the invitation of Celia Cruz. She was found in a hotel, in Buenos Aires. He saw her from afar and said to himself: “What can I lose?”
He introduced himself and invited her. The artist gave her a phone number to coordinate. It was October 2002. Pascual del Cioppo remained skeptical, even after arriving in Ecuador, picking up the phone and calling that number in New York. “I thought she had given it to me wrong.”
Afters coring I was still hopeless. Not even knowing that he was talking to Pedro himself, Celia’s husband, he thought they would not accept the invitation, but he was wrong. Cruz arrived that December and “¡’Azúca’ for the telethon of that year!”. Celia died in 2003.
Shakira also thickens the ranks of the telethon stories. When she was nobody, when Mariela Viteri ‘ignored her’ by denying her an interview, Del Cioppo also didit, but with the time of the presentation. The mother of the Colombian wanted to be with the greats of that year: Rafael, Rocío Durcal, after six in the afternoon; but Pascual had scheduled it at four o’clock. “There she was,standing next to her mother, with her curls, very young. With so much insistence, I moved it at 5:00 p.m., “he recounts.
“The Telethon went from giving toys to extending lives,” he summarizes. After2007 the Telethon stopped building buildings and began to directly serve children who need operations. Forty of them have made them abroad. This Saturday is expected to raise $ 1.2 million.
Mirella Cesa, Pamela Cortés, Daniel Beta and Jorge Luis del Hierro are some of the national artists who will go to the Telethon.
Diego Torres, Miranda, Elvis Crespo, Santiago Cruz, Izan Llunas and Nicola Di Bariare on the foreigners list.
The Telethon will be held this December 1, at the Art Center Theater of Guayaquil,from 10:00. (I)