This year was the 20th edition of L-Istrina, marathon of over 12 hours. A record of €7,135,035 was collected until midnight, the largest sum ever collected in the history of 20 years. Marathon kicked off at noon with speeches by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and Opposition Leader Adrian Delia.
The marathon was being held at the Kirkop Sports Complex and finished at midnight.
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca spoke of some of the experiences she had in past days, where there wasn’t an activity that somebody didn’t express their thanks to her for the work. These thanks are not hers, she said, but everyone’s because the work of the Malta Community Chest Fund is done through the people.
Archbishop Charles J Scicluna said that this was the moment where everyone had to transfer the spirit of Christmas into a concrete symbol of love, like God did when he sent his Son among us.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said that he could not think of an activity which united the people more than Istrina did. He said that he had spent 30 years operating on children and that he knew what the trauma of such procedures was like both for the children and for their families. However, he said, he also knows of the big sense of love that these families feel when they see the solidarity shown with them through marathons such as Istrina. Money is important, he said, but Istrina is not just about finances; it’s about the fact that hundreds of thousands of people that are contributing something concrete to and showing solidarity with these children and their families.
Joseph Muscat, who was not present due to being abroad, said that he was there in spirit like every single Maltese and Gozitan, and said that this year, Istrina needs everybody to contribute in any manner that they can. In the end, he said, we are one society and one family that needs to give help to those who are in need.
PN Leader Adrian Delia said that the people need to open their eyes and ears to hear the message of those in need and, more than that, to open their hearts and give all that they can. Delia said that the people should do all they could to go the extra mile and truly show that the Maltese and Gozitans are a people with a massive heart which loves and cares for everyone.
€6.048 million were collected in last year’s l-Istrina.