- Accompanying the Mundo Sano foundation mission, the #ChagasChallenge has got to the finish line. This biking challenge, led by the Olympic athlete Chema Martinez, has achieved its goal just on the 25th anniversary of the Mundo Sano Foundation, the moment at which the decision has been made to launch the “Not a Single Baby With Chagas Disease campaign.”
- Between 55,000 and 100,000 Chagas cases are estimated to exist now in Spain, the European country with the highest number of diagnosed patients.
The IVth edition of the #ChagasChallenge ended in Oviedo city, after a 797 km journey from Madrid. This challenge, promoted by the multinational pharmaceutical company InsudPharma to cooperate with Mundo Sano Foundation, started on August 26 and, after five laps, the Olympic athlete Chema Martinez has crossed the finish line together with his whole team, thus meeting the condition for Insud Pharma to donate 100,000 Euros to Mundo Sano Foundation to keep on diagnosing and treating Chagas disease.
This illness affects 7.6 million people globally and between 55,000 and 100,000 Chagas cases are estimated to exist now in Spain, the European country with the highest number of diagnosed patients. The #ChagasChallenge mission is to give visibility to this disease, since Chagas infection has a known treatment and the sooner it is administered the more effective it is.
The #ChagasChallenge seeks to raise awareness of the importance of giving visibility to the disease through various circuits of Spain and Portugal. This empathic challenge is a first step towards bringing together the efforts of Mundo Sano Foundation, the Oviedo City Hall and the Principality of Asturias, thus strengthening actions directed to Chagas disease prevention and treatment.
The participants of the #ChagasChallenge were received at 2:30 pm in the city-hall square after a last 135 km lap from La Robellada in Cangas de Onis, to the iconic cathedral of Asturias capital. The group arrived led by the Olympic athlete Chema Martinez and Leandro Sigman, president of Insud Pharma group.
The Honorable Francisco Wenceslao López Martínez was in charge of receiving the Challenge participants after their 800-km journey and made it a point to highlight their satisfaction for the fact that Oviedo could humbly contribute to the visibility of one of the neglected tropical diseases. In addition, he mentioned the efforts and solidarity of those who raced along the route in order to help others. “Giving visibility to solidarity is always a good reason to feel proud,“ he concluded.
Chema Martínez, who took the role of leader of this challenge for the fourth year in a row, said that “the main actor of the whole initiative had been Leandro Sigman. He explained to me what he was doing at the Mundo Sano Foundation, told me about the project and taught me all about neglected tropical diseases. And indeed, about the Chagas disease that affects so many people in the world. I liked the idea very much and since then we have been attempting to achieve greater publicity to the #ChagasChallenge, seeking to control the disease. We are very grateful to all people involved, from those who supported us accompanying us on their bikes along part of the route, those who dared run in the afternoon trainings we organized and those who every day post the #ChagasChallenge hashtag through their social media accounts. All give as the fuel needed to get to our finish line.”
In turn, Leandro Sigman, president of Insud Pharma and a member of the group of bikers, said: “While this year’s challenge started on August 26, this story began 25 years ago with the Mundo Sano Foundation and its president, Silvia Gold. Together with other organizations, they started to work in giving visibility and tools to those affected by Chagas and other neglected diseases. In celebration of this anniversary, the foundation has decided to promote the “Not a Single Baby with Chagas” Disease Campaign, which seeks that all pregnant women or childbearing-age females, as well as all babies born to affected mothers may have access to diagnosis and treatment. This commitment has inspired and encouraged us to take up the challenge to Oviedo and continue the foundation’s legacy”.