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The Teletón in Mexico is an annual 24-plus-hour TV and radio broadcast, started in 1996, to raise money for children’s rehabilitation centers (known as Centro de Rehabilitación Infantil Teletón or CRIT – “Teletón Children’s Rehabilitation Center” in English) for disabled children. Mexico’s proposal was due to the initiative of Fernando Landeros. The Mexican Teletón is produced by Televisa and more than 500 Mexican and foreign media; more than 100 commercial firms sponsor the event. The telethon’s mission is “to provide knowledge about physical disabilities, giving a strong message about respect, equality and support to people in these conditions”.
Since 1997, Teletón has begun on the first Friday in December. The 2010 Teletón was held on December 3–4; as always, it was seen as “a project of national unity where Mexicans have the chance to gather and work for the same cause”. From 1996–2003, the end of the event was marked by a concert in Azteca Stadium. Since 2004, the venue has varied: in 2004–2005 it was held at Mexico City’s Zócalo, in 2006 at the Foro Sol and in 2007–2008 it was moved to the National Auditorium.
Besides creating CRITs all around the country, the CRIT system and the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) signed an agreement in 2000 creating two bachelors-degree programs training professionals to work with children at the CRITs, and created the Instituto Teletón de Estudios Superiores (ITESUR) (located next to the first CRIT constructed). ITESUR is the only university in Mexico that grants degrees in occupational and physical therapy.
From 1997 to 2004, Mexican actress and pop star Lucero was involved in every telethon as the main spokesperson for most of the broadcast, alongside different news anchor and host of other Televisa programs. In 2003, a scandal involving security guards and the press made her to have her role been downplayed, and other Televisa personalities have been included in the broadcast.
While the main reason of the Teleton is to provide help with the rehabilitation of children that suffer of different brain and mobility discapacities, in 2009 Teletón expanded the objectives to provide help in the treatment of children diagnosed with cancer, hence another event was conceived, Pelonton, consisting of the people donating locks of hair in order to create wigs for those children that suffered loss hair due to cancer treatment.